October 8, 2012
By Arthur H. Gunther III
My Colorado correspondent reports early morning temps of 28 degrees near Grand Junction, and in Blauvelt, N.Y., this morning we were in the lower 40s. At long last, autumn seems to be beyond teasing, not welcomed by everyone but certainly more appreciated by many after a hot, even sticky, endless summer.
I can’t speak for Grand Junction save what my friend has reported over almost seven years -- that there is awesome beauty in red rock cliffs and mesas, that there are very fine wineries, that at times she is reminded of growing up in pre-Tappan Zee Bridge Rockland County, in Congers, N.Y.
If you enjoy fall, it matters not where you live, except that you have to have autumn, of course. Cape Cod, with its post-season quiet and chilled salty air, walks in its dunes, sea grass at your knees is a blessing in itself. In Rockland, there are Hudson trails at Piermont, Nyack, Haverstraw, Stony Point and Tomkins Cove that are as majestic against fall’s color as must be the pearly gates.
In Vermont, well, that’s where God must have first dipped a paintbrush, and the great and rich palette is repeated season after season, though humankind and its misuse of the environment can remix and muddle the colors in a particular year.
I imagine Seattle, with its particular fall rain, or the Carolinas or the Virginias or the Midwest, in switching gears from their summers to what is their fall, bring excitement in change, too.
If you have autumn, you get out the heavier clothing, check the furnace, load up on firewood and check the rack of summer preserves. And that’s just the physical, the details. The bigger readiness comes from the psychological, for fall is a passage to winter, when we hunker down, when we draw from our stores. It is a proper emotional time that allows us to endure all year long, to increase our mettle.
While spring brings renewal and recharge after winter, fall leads us into the cold time by getting us snug in a favorite sweater, perhaps in a comfortable chair by a good reading lamp as dark comes earlier, rays of the setting sun filtering through autumn’s wonderously beautiful colors. It's reassurance that all can be well in the cycle of things earthly.
Fall -- it’s where you have to be.