Leaf Peeping

We are entering the time of year when buses full of old people pull into town, freeing a slow-moving army of pleasant folks wearing name tags on the streets and in the stores of town. When rental cars can be seen pulling over to the side of the road at odd intervals, appreciating the views that should not be taken for granted. When apples are everywhere: on the trees, dropping onto the sidewalk and on all the menus. Where green is taken over by gold, orange, and red just as it is each year. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s fall in Vermont.

Everyone loves fall in Vermont, of course. Even people who live in places like Virginia with perfectly respectable trees of their own come here to marvel at the colors. Those of us who live here all year long can be found outside in droves, hiking, biking, playing and watching sports and enjoying the cooler air and the crisp, rapidly-shortening evenings. After a hot summer it feels like the whole state gets a spring in its step.

For myself: mixed feelings. I love a good fall day. I like pumpkins. I like mums. I like the kind of cooking you can do in the fall and the winter –soups and stews without fear of heating yourself right out of the kitchen. I like to play soccer with John without bugs.

But this time of year is also a little bit bittersweet to me. I like summer. I’m not one of those people who suffers through the hot weather waiting for it to end. So when the mornings require fleece, I know my heyday is ending. On top of that, here in Vermont I know that summer is not going to be back any time soon.

And I don’t want to hear from any of you about how the snow melts in March and there are crocuses in April. That’s not the same thing. You and I both know that I’ve got about a ten month wait for a good hot day. Also, for a decent portion of that long wait, it will be dark outside. That is a little grim.

Fall is definitely here. (Aside from the temperature, I can tell because last night I had a fifteen pound cat sleeping under the covers, on my left shoulder.) I’m trying to live in the moment and not think too much about the coming winter. It seems a little gloomy to think of each yellow leaf as a harbinger of doom. And if I do think it, I promise not to talk about it too much. I don’t want to dampen the joy of the leaf peepers.

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