October’s End

A final look at the leaves of autumn.  Nathaniel Hammond photograph.
A final look at the leaves of autumn. Nathaniel Hammond photograph.

October is ending and November is just hours away. But first the ghosts and goblins come calling and a brave few will venture down our long driveway. I think they enjoy being a little scared as they wander beneath the trees and head toward the porch light. And they always head home happy with plenty of candy in their bags. It will be a chilly evening here on my small Maine island, and I’m remembering how much I hated having to bundle up in a coat over my costume when I was a kid. However, plenty of candy makes up for a lot of things and at least it’s not snowing as it was two years ago tonight when we all had to shovel out before the trick or treating could begin. Have a safe and happy Halloween…..and then,  on to Thanksgiving!


Musings from a Small Maine Island

Despite what the calendar may say, summer officially ended yesterday. Many of our summer people head home at the end of August, especially those with children in school, but others stay through Columbus Day.  The last of them rumbled across the swing bridge to the mainland yesterday, leaving a silence that was palpable this morning. Gone are most of the morning joggers and walkers in their designer

A Maine lobster boat at anchor at the end of a day's work.
A Maine lobster boat at anchor at the end of a day’s work.

outfits, leaving only us year-rounders briskly navigating the island in our sweats and sturdy LLBean hiking boots. The weather is unusually mild and the foliage currently is at its peak, so all in all it has been a lovely day and time to get down to the business of late autumn. It’s a good time of year to get some work done, both in the house and yard and in the office.

From my office window, I’m looking out at the water where just a few lobster boats bob on their moorings, along with a few pleasure boats belonging to year-rounders here on the island. The latter will soon be hauled in, but many of the lobster fishermen will set and haul their traps throughout the winter.  As the weather and water turns colder, they have to go farther and farther out to sea, so I admire their fortitude. But I also know how much they love their work and that most of them would be unhappy doing anything else for a living.

We’ll begin a quick segue now into the fall and winter holidays….Halloween soon, followed by Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are everywhere, along with witches and goblins decorating lawns, and before long we’ll all be thinking about family celebrations and turkey dinners. And from there it seems like just minutes until Christmas.  For now, though, I’ll enjoy these unexpected warm days and the glint of sunlight on orange maple leaves.

Leaf-peeping in New England

Fall colors near Rangeley, Maine.  Nathaniel Hammond photography.
Fall colors near Rangeley, Maine. Nathaniel Hammond photography.

Throughout New England, color is just about at its peak now, bringing thousands of leaf-peepers to enjoy the show.  In Maine, the best colors tend to be in the northern part of the state. I especially love the Rangeley area where, along with the beautiful trees, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll spot a moose or two.

We’ve just had several days of Indian summer. The leaves are glorious, and once they fall, we’ll all be looking ahead to winter. That’s fine with me.  Unlike most New Englanders, autumn has never been my favorite time of year.  It’s beautiful to be sure,  but there is something about the fading light  and shortened days that makes it a very melancholy season. Winter, despite the cold and snow, somehow seems a lighter, brighter, time of year…..perhaps it’s the winter holidays, perhaps it’s the contentment of having time to tackle a new book or other long project, or maybe it’s the thought that spring can’t be far behind. And I do love spring with all its promise, and summer, which has always seemed a time of fulfillment.

See, I told you that fall brings out the melancholy musings!