Saturday, September 19, 2009

Autumn in New England

Saturday morning and it's in the upper 40s. The lane beyond my house, as it crosses an unnamed brook, is scattered with curling yellow leaves -- I think autumn has come to New England. My neighbors are busy putting out pumpkins, farmers are busy getting the last cutting of hay bailed and stacked, and the squirrels are busy as only squirrels can be, gathering nuts. It was chilly enough in my study yesterday morning that, for a moment, I actually contemplated building a fire.

That's one of the things I love best about this place. The heating system is not exactly ancient, but it's certainly old, and woefully inadequate to do much good at this end of the house. As a result, I rely on the fireplace which, being lined with a fairly efficient insert, does a fine job of warding off the cold. If it sounds cozy, well, it is.

I'm a guy and "cozy" is one of my favorite words. Maybe there's nothing incongruous about that, but I feel like it's an admission of some sort. Anyhow, the word is probably of Scandinavian origin, though I don't think anyone knows for sure. But when you think about the meaning Mr. Webster suggests, "providing contentment or comfort," it makes sense that the someone from the far North would have invented it. Cold nights near the Arctic Circle, a warm cabin, the intimacy of family around the fire, I can easily imagine a Laplander saying, "Ya, this is cozy, all right."

All of this is not to say we won't have some days ahead when I'll wish I hadn't taken the air conditioner out of the window. Here in Maine, like most places where there are four distinguishable seasons, anything goes. We may get hammered with an early season blizzard and then again, it might be Indian Summer until Thanksgiving. You never can be quite certain. I guess that's what I like about living up here -- and life in general. Every day can seem like a miracle if you just remain open to it.


(Photo by the author)

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