There is nothing more invigorating than a walk in a crisp October Sunday morning after autumnal rain when the air is soaked with the smell of wet walnut leaves, freshly ground coffee, baked apples with cinnamon, a lovely fabric softener from a laundry... This amalgam of exciting fragrances of the neighborhood's simplicity conjoins perfectly with the highly saturated palettes of golden yellows soon to become fiery reds, with a mix of orange in between and a brown edge... The previously dusty sidewalks are covered with a new glossy coat of cleanness and small mirrored puddles in which you can see your reflection. The sun is so gentle, you close your eyes – you breathe in light and breathe out ease... 
Each season brings its own mood and I love how Autumn makes me feel. I have been waiting for this depressing and sad summer of mine to finally come to an end. For so long I wanted to somehow be on the other side of my life, back to normalcy. After numerous situations in which I came up against a brick wall and the loss of my beloved grandmother, my emotional composure was challenged and I failed to maintain a positive self-image. I put so much energy into the unproductive "why me" thinking that I wanted so badly to run from this miserable person I had become. I've always known that there are never easy paths in life and our days have always started and ended with uncertainty. What appeared surprisingly difficult to me this time, was my lack of ability to let go of old illusions of control and to embrace life as it is; to accept grieving as a fundamental process of life. It felt strange and disappointing to be almost halfway through my life and still trying to figure basic things out. I struggled to accept the reality, which according to every member of my family wasn't as bad as I thought. I needed to go back to some of my favorite books, authors, artists, and thinkers to find the courage to overcome fears and gain wisdom, to stop the fight within me, let things go and begin practicing acceptance. And somehow I knew for certainty that the change in seasons will bring a transformation not only in nature but in my lost self as well, because changes – welcomed or forced as well as the unbearable goodbyes have always been an important component of human evolution; we might never learn the true measure of our own strength if we haven't been pushed out of our comfort zone.
Slowly, with the warm colours of the landscape, with the return to the routine, the freshness of the rain, the abundance of the harvest, my pain, my fear and my worry have been replaced by open eyes able to notice again, a mind focused more on the present, a heart grateful for what I have rather than what I want, and arms widespread for the simple joys in my world... and the more I have been taking notice of what brings me joy, the more joy I have been finding in my everyday life (like cooking in the kitchen again and making this rich and flavourful oven-baked plum jam from locally grown Danson plums using my mom's recipe).
And perhaps the wisdom I have been searching for these past months hasn't been hidden only in the books, but rather in my ability to trust my own true nature and let life carry me through my darkest times and my glory...    

Plum Jam
 (makes 2 jars of 300ml)


1 kg. Danson plums
0.5 kg. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
vanilla bean


Wash, pit and cut the plums in half. Spread them in a baking dish. Add sugar on it and stir. Cover the dish and leave it for about 5-10 hours. Plums should absorb the sugar and release their juice. Add water, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir well. 
Preheat oven to 300C. Bake until bubbles appear and plums texture gets dense – about an hour and a half, depends on how ripe the fruits are. Add 1 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice and bake for a few more minutes.
Pour jam into sterilized glass jars.   

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