Thursday, November 5, 2009


We are one week into November here in northern New England and I must say it has been a lovely month thus far. The burnt oranges and deep greens lining the streets and creating contrast against the vivid blue sky at the horizon are awe-inspiring. The grasses across the marsh are changed from the light greens of the summer, to brown and orange. The atmosphere has been mostly calm, resulting in a settled-ness, a quiet transition from a more turbulent end to the summer.

One thing I appreciate about autumn is that it can be a generous period for preparation for the long, cold winter ahead. It is not always so, of course. There have been years when we have had very cold Halloweens, and snow before the oak has had time to shed its leaves. This year, however, we have been given a grace period. What needs to get done in and around the homestead to be ready for those harsh and limiting winter days?

It seems to me there is a huge list of things do: Endless raking of acorns and leaves, clearing gutters, putting patio furniture into storage, composting the annuals, testing the snow blower, parking the lawn mower away, and battening down hatches. Inside, we have the storm windows back in place, the wood pellet furnace nicely cleaned and ready to fire up when the temperatures warrant, fresh supplies of dried beans and soup stock in the cabinet, flannels sheets upon the beds, and summer dust wiped away.

It is a time of change, and it suits me. The other day my daughter asked me, unsolicited, which I always love, "You're an autumn baby, aren't you?" That I am, born in October. Perhaps that's why I appreciate so many things about this season. I love the colors and the smells. There is little more refreshing to me than running on a trail in the woods and taking in THAT smell of fall. The air seems clearer and more invigorating, and the running more relaxed.

The pressure of the fast racing season is off, and it's time to rest and think about goals for next year. Of course there are races to run in November, a turkey trot and Thanksgiving day pre-turkey trot, but they seem much more optional than other races throughout the summer. Cross-country races are also in full swing. This coming weekend are the state high school final meets, and larger events will take place down in Boston at Franklin Park.

What a nice time of year here in Maine. I'll try to stay present and not think too much about what is around the corner. Happy November!

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