Category Archives: Autumn

Autumn, and Your October Book of Days

Welcome to October. Here’s your Book of Days Calendar for October. Cover star: a swamp maple in New Gloucester, Maine, with ruby red leaves, pure essence of autumn. This is something we just don’t get much of here in Lake Worth. So if you are in a place where this happens, enjoy fully.

Here in Lake Worth, the weather has taken a definite shift. It’s not so much cooler as it is less humid, and this is nice, this is our version of autumn. There are pumpkins in the market, not the ones that grow here, but the ones that have to be trucked in from the North. Our pumpkins are delicious but not much to look at; sometimes green, sometimes beige, they’re called “calabaza” and they taste a lot like a butternut. I’ve sent pictures of our calabazas to friends up north who grow pumpkins and typically the initial response is a gasp. “That’s a pumpkin?” We love them all the same, though it’s true, our calabazas cannot hold a candle to a big Connecticut Field jack o’lantern pumpkin or a red Rouge vif d’Etampes or a ghostly blue green Jarrahdale. And so a hearty thank you to all the farmers who send their beautiful cucurbitas here to South Florida. We appreciate it. Really. For while we don’t get your beautiful foliage, we do enjoy the pumpkins.

We’re shifting into high gear here preparing for Dia de Muertos, beefing up stock and adding new artisan goods from Mexico, too. We have lots more to add to the website, but if you’re ready to start shopping, know that we offer free domestic shipping when you spend $50, and even if you don’t, our flat rate shipping is only $8.50, and that’s not so bad, either. Here’s a quick link to our catalog. Enjoy!


Balance, & the Ember Months

I go through all the months of the year, content enough and present and engaged, but once we reach September, I perk up a bit more and grow really excited. These are the months I’ve long called The Ember Months, for they end that way in English: September, of course, and November and December. October counts, too; it’s not quite an “-ember” but still concludes in “-ber” and that’s close enough for me. Anyway, October may just be my favorite month of them all. These are the months that bring ripening pumpkins and apples, chestnuts and pomegranates; the months that hold my favorite days: these are the months of autumn. And in these earliest dark night hours of the 23rd of September, at 3:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time, autumn officially arrives by the almanac, as our planet reaches its moment of equinox, bringing autumn to the Northern Hemisphere and spring to the Southern Hemisphere.

It is, as well, a time of balance, bringing pretty much equal lengths of day and night to the entire globe for a few days. These are auspicious days for someone like me, who strives for balance but can never quite attain it. My problems attaining balance are based, I’m sure, on an inherent flaw within me: a seeming inability to say “no.” But I envision this great big earth we live upon, spinning on its axis on its elliptical orbit around the sun, and it is a great inspiration: if this great celestial being can attain balance, perhaps so can I. And certainly there is no harm in the striving. And even for Earth, the balance is fleeting: by tomorrow, night will be longer than day in our hemisphere above the equator. Soon, old friends will emerge in that longer night sky, like the constellation Orion, harbinger of winter. It’s always good to see him. And so I say welcome, old friends. Welcome, autumn. Welcome, Ember Months.

We begin popping up a lot throughout South Florida these last few months of the year. Here’s where you’ll find us next month. More possibilities are in the works for October… to be kept apprised, follow us on Instagram or Facebook: @conviviobookworks

Sunday October 6 from 11 AM to 3 PM
History Fort Lauderdale (inside the historic New River Inn)
231 SW 2nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale
We’ll be there with a mini pop up of our traditional Dia de Muertos artisan goods.

Sunday October 20 from 10 AM to 4 PM
Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton
Live music, family fun, and lots of great local makers. We’ll be there with a big boutique of traditional Dia de Muertos artisan goods, Shaker herbs & teas, Seth Thompson’s Royal River pottery, and maybe even a little advent calendar preview.

Friday October 25 from 2 to 6 PM
Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries, Boca Raton
It’s a special edition of the Jaffe’s popular Real Mail Fridays letter writing socials, this one with an All Hallow’s Eve theme. Expect good old fashioned autumnal fun plus a mini Makers Marketplace. We’ll be there with a selection of our traditional Dia de Muertos artisan goods.


Image: A depiction of the constellation Orion from the Prodromus Astronomia, volume III: Firmamentum Sobiescianum, sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, 1690.



Time for a New Toothbrush

There is an old Jewish tradition of leaving rocks on gravestones––I think to mark your visit. Seth and I left these two stones at the marker of my family’s plot in Westbury, New York, on Wednesday. It’s our first visit since my dad died in February, 2017. It was strange and sad at first, to sit there in the grass atop my father’s resting place. The cemetery was our first stop once we landed in New York, but then we got ourselves up, got a bite to eat at a diner where the chowder is Manhattan style (red, tomato based), and afterward we went to a garden center and picked up a small trowel and two celiosa plants blooming purple flowers and we returned to the cemetery with a project: I planted the flowers, one on the side where my dad is buried and one on the side where my grandparents are buried, and Seth began cleaning the stone. We didn’t have much with us to do that, but there was water nearby and I offered the toothbrush out of my backpack and so Seth brushed the green algae off the black granite stone, brushed the letters, brushed the carved image of St. Anthony of Padua, and it was good to have these projects. Dad, Grandma, Grandpa––they all appreciated things clean and orderly, and so I know this simple act of cleaning and planting would be appreciated, even now. Afterward, we lay there in the grass a long time, Seth and me… and then we set those stones atop the gravestone, said our goodbyes, and headed off to visit my cousin in Brooklyn (Brook-a-leen, as my Italian grandparents would have pronounced it). Our trips are usually like this: visits to family and friends, living and dead.

The day before, I was at my mom’s house, mowing the lawn. I like this task. It is a job that reminds me of Dad, for it’s something we did together often. Many times this summer while I’ve been there tackling this job, riding the mower, thinking of Dad, a big wood stork would fly down from the heavens, land by the pond near the house, and there the bird would stand or sit, at the bank of the pond, under a tree, watching me. Large wading birds are not uncommon in the swampy lands near the family homestead, but to see a wood stork is rare. This one, though, he’s been coming around since July. We have our almost weekly visit together. If I get too close, the stork takes a few big steps away. He’s a good four feet tall, and so his stride is large. But I look at him lately and I wonder where he’s come from, and why he’s chosen to hang out at our pond. I’m glad he’s there.

But that’s back home in Florida, which is not where we are now. Your Convivio Boys are on an autumnal jaunt, and if you know us, you know jaunts are not something we do often. First stop is New York, for just a few days, then onward to Maine. I’ll write when I can.