Monday, October 17, 2011
This is a rerun from last year. I was pondering a post along the same vein, and then decided this one says it all. To give you some sense of the changes going on here...the first picture is taken from the same spot as the photo in the Middle Passages masthead...just a few months later.
On the shore, the term “mild” holds great meaning. It’s a matter of degree, but all influences touch us less. Except for occasional Nor’easters that barrel up the coast, our winters are softer. We get less snow; the ocean temperatures stop the air from becoming quite as cold. In the summer, heat waves stifle, but the sea offers a puff of air, a hint of dampness, a reduction in the swelter, noticed primarily by those who travel here from interior places.
Our autumns are calm too, sometimes in weather, always in color. Fall by the ocean rolls in with a serene glide that quilts us in shades more muted then those found in the mountain country up north. Weeks after the first flames whip through the sugar maples of Vermont and New Hampshire, we wait to reach peak color. When it appears, it’s hung by a more reserved artist, one who uses soft brush strokes to paint from a pallet of gold and fawn.
Skeins of subtle crimson wind through trees standing next to their still-green peers. Marsh grasses fade from emerald to taupe. We wait, for the splash, the celebration, an explosion of color to emerge, and then remember it doesn’t happen here. Instead, the colors leak in, seeping under a crack in the door, in slow burning embers we fail to recognize until the end of the party—when the pale sun butters a few remaining hickory leaves and our restrained burn looses its fuel. Coals diminish, cinders shift and before long, all that remains is a pile of glowing ashes. Rubbing our arms we look to the empty-fingered trees pointing to a smoke colored sky, and realize that before we got a chance to enjoy it, the heat drained from our smoldering autumn fire.