Today it is official, summer has departed and the calling card of cool nights and the overhead honking of South-bound geese has been received and acknowledged by all.
Here in the hills of New England we have been trying to ignore the fiery color building on the hillsides, first yellow birch and beech and later bursts of flame-orange maples scattered here and there. But there is no denying the calendar… the Autumnal Equinox is here today… ready or not.
Last week’s Harvest Moon and the mounds of colorful pumpkins, and ornamental gourds sitting shoulder to shoulder with pots of purple asters and mums of russet red and bright yellow along every rural highway have eased the transition. The last Monarch butterflies visit diminished gardens and humans are amazed to see darkness descend by 7:30 pm. A lone female hummingbird sips what nectar can be found in late blooming blossoms. And a pile of split wood waits to be neatly stacked until the first fires are lit. The transition from exterior to interior, extroversion to introspection has subtly begun as our inner landscape reflects the outer.
A bittersweet acquiescence to the passage of time mingles with the anticipation of the glorious pageantry of color to come. No one puts on a more dramatic display of Fall color than New England. Some days are so clear and crisp and the folliage so intense against cerulean blue skies it seems unreal; like an over the top, highly saturated “Technicolor” movie of the mid-fifties. It is my favorite season and one of the attractions that pulled me from the steamy South to these northern hills.
Early morning transitions are particularly magical in this area. On the road to Maine recently as the sun was rising, mists were lifting from the waters of a nearby pond. Two young deer gracefully crossed the road after sampling the cool water; a pair of crows silhouetted on a bare branch and shrouded in fog cawed loudly as I stopped my car to take it all in. I’ve included a photo I took there that sets the stage for the journey into Autumn.
The intimate scene I just described takes place everyday, but most of us are so intent on getting to where we need to be, we do not notice them. Try to take the time to witness the changes taking place where you are today, savor the timeless beauty of the ever-changing season, and remember that you are an integral part of it.