It’s good to be here

3 11 2009

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At the behest of others, I’ve shelved the scheduled post for tonight, and I’ll take a shot at something I mentioned earlier.

Willem Lang, one of my two all-time favorite NPR commentators, once wrote “it is decadent to live where it’s warm all the time” and I couldn’t agree more. As I drove back up Route 5 from Northampton today, I was struck again and again by the astonishing and unassuming beauty of New England. Each stretch of road revealed a new and changing palette of colors and contrasts. The reds of fall have faded now, but there are still plenty of deep, burnt oranges and yellows of every hue to be feasted upon. Plenty of branches are bare now, lending the treelines a slight melancholy air that all fans of fall here have surely grown up loving.

Warm days keep the grass green and growing, and this time of year the afternoon sun changes in temper, somehow growing golden and giving a deep burnished tone to the lawns and planted fields lying fallow with winter groundcover. The evergreens stand a little taller now, and their unchanging backdrop will carry us through the grays and purples of winter. But for now they only serve to deepen the reverie of color on display from their leaf-bearing brethren.

Perhaps my favorite part of this time of year is the sky. While there is still plenty of clear air, the bright blue skies of summer have given way to sombre and sometimes threatening mottled grays of slate, lead and cold steel. With the shifting rays of the sun at the end of the day, the clouds carry tones of deep blue as though they are cooling from the inside out, preparing to make snow instead of rain.

Taken together, the colors are dizzying, though they be more subdued than the riot of early fall. Combined with the crisp air that carries a bite of woodsmoke in it, the farmhouses and Colonials buttoned up and settled in for their 75th, or 100th, or 200th winter, and the low, rolling hill country that seems to have stood here since before there was an earth around it, and I’m left with one impression above all others.

It’s good to be here.

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2 responses

8 11 2009
Christine

I am so glad you DID write this and sorry I took so long to sit a moment and really read. Now that I have I wish I had a small glass of hot cider with a cinnamon stick to stir it with and a warm fire nearby.. it is the only way it could have been better.

8 11 2009
will4words

Cheers! 🙂

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