At some point if you’re lucky you realize you’re old enough that half your life has happened after college. For me, that also marks the division between growing up “at Home” in the American Pacific NW, and then living for almost two decades in the Northeast, first in Central* New York, then still further eastward until I ran out of land and stopped just short of the Atlantic Ocean.
While Home is still where my heart resides, autumn is the season when I most appreciate living in New England. I find that my otherwise least favorite chore—driving on the region’s rarely planned, oft overcrowded roads—becomes a source of radiant joy on crisp, clear fall mornings.
I am the sort of person whose heart really does feel swollen to bursting in the face of beauty. I get moved to tears easily and often, especially by evidence of the enormous capacity of human beings for goodness and generosity. I literally jump for joy when I get excited. I’m not what you might call “hard to stir” at any time. And yet…
Simply passing along our suburban lane these past few days has been a wonderland of well-framed vistas, with all credit due to Mother Nature. I may hate the new McMansions thrown up around the corner, but even they look fantastic bedecked with pots of purple mums and overhung by turning leaves in yellow, orange, and blazing red, mirrored by their fallen comrades drifting the street below and browning into dust.
With the ground heavily frosted this morning, I stole a moment I couldn’t spare in the yard to snap a photo of rimed† flowers, drooping toward death, yet somehow more magnificent than ever in their regal fading.
The best photos, I’ll never capture. It is the empty road embraced by fiery foliage that stirs me, moves me, but can’t be caught. I’ve always loved the promise of whirring along en route to the pleasures of a destination, and it is this combination of robust kinetic energy within the season of winding down and wrapping up that makes these moments so momentous for me.
I hope someday to return Home to stay, resuming the mantle of grey days and soft, cool mist that is my birthright. I miss the sight of constant, snow-capped mountains swathed in evergreens, and even the ubiquitous rain. But, if I do depart, I will always miss New England’s blazing autumns. These daily miracles will remain forever etched on my soul.
Happy Halloween, dear readers!
*Not “Upstate” New York, which means somewhere else in the large state that also happens to house that glory hog, New York City. This is a distinction quite dear to those who live near my alma mater. I went to college in a rural part of the state, where cows outnumbered even students. Our little village didn’t even host a gas station.
†Here’s where I can’t help but make a terrible and rather inappropriate joke, so I’ll keep it below the fold. Stop here, children.
Why, our yard was full of hoars this morning!
Ahem. So sorry. But it is true.
3 thoughts on “New England’s glory is autumn: musings on a Hallowed Eve”
I did not know you were a New Englander!
Ah, but that’s a tricky label for me! I do live in New England, and I like it much better than I ever liked New York. That said, I would say that I AM an Oregonian, though I haven’t carried my “Home” state’s driver’s license for many years.
Since having my kids, I have taken them to stay with my family for between a month or two every year, mostly summer but also usually for Christmas. I think that makes me more like a snowbird. A rain bird? If its meant to describe what I’m fleeing, perhaps I’m a humidity-bird? Or a congestion-bird?
Gee, I am in a silly mood today. 🙂
Whatever kind of bird that loves autumn, I guess.
I’ve been a New Englander my whole life, save for three years in the DC metro area. I love it here.