I found my photo card with pictures of our jaunt through the White Mountains. It was very cloudy the day we drove the road that loops through the best views, so the views were shortened, but so were the crowds of leaf peepers. This suited us fine. Without further ado, let me show you a glimpse.
We would drive around the bends in the road, thinking surely each one would be pinnacle of color. It was a feast for the eyes and soul, a worship experience.
Entire mountain flanks, covered in flaming deciduous trees with creases of evergreens in the ravines: this is what we saw for hours. Our cabin was in Maine, just one mile over the NH border, but in a very different landscape. The lane in to our little lake looked promisingly secluded, although you would not believe how many tiny cabins are tucked away in these woods. I only saw one other person out and about in the four days we were here. He was a deaf gardener at one of the fancier places where the shrubs were manicured, and he shouted at me that he liked my shoelaces after I smiled and remarked inanely about the beautiful day.
This was our Air B&B glamping cabin. It was a compromise between posh accommodations and primitive camping, a sparely furnished place with a fridge, heat, and hot water. It was perfect. We went out to Portland one day, where we saw the harbor and the way they used to make their living compared to how they make their living now. I know the tourists are the bread and butter of many of the shops and restaurants in the area, but it makes me sad to see all the manufacturing places abandoned, the railroads grown up in weeds. I would have liked to see this harbor when it was bustling with commerce. We ate our lobster rolls and crab cakes at a small shack on the pier where there was a faint smell of rot and fish, so that seemed nice and authentic.
We love the way New Englanders have so practically built their barns and garages in attached L’s to their houses. How smart is that when the snow is piled up? And we like how they drag the rocks out of their pastures and build fences. It’s such a sensible solution.
We came home to this crew with renewed contentment to just be us: our family. Gabe had to get back to work that weekend and I had a long Sunday afternoon with a bunch of kiddos who had forgotten a little how to be siblings and listen to their Mom. (Somebody invent an emoji for that. It’s too hard to describe.) I couldn’t think of anything better to do than wear everybody out on the nearby mountain. 🙂 It was cheering to see what the fresh air and romping did for everybody’s spirits. When the littlest girl whined about being cold, her brother shared his jacket and when she whined about being tired, he carried her, which was more than I was prepared to do.
After stuffing our pockets with treasures and building a small fire to warm up, (never underestimate a young boy with a flint and steel in his pack) we were rejuvenated and all the people who had fussed about hiking in the drizzle retracted their fussing and felt mellow and sweet for the rest of the evening. Even me. I was still in “curl up undisturbed with a book” mode, which wasn’t working anyway. Nature is such an amazing panacea for grumpiness of spirit! Wow, look at that! God is good! The world is a lot bigger than I am! I need other people. Solidarity and kindness restored: all is well.
It has been a good fall, quite possibly the busiest season of our lives to date. I doubt we could have gotten much more done if we tried. I hit November with thankfulness, which is appropriate, of course. But ordinarily I dislike November intensely. This year it is still balmy. My petunias still look like this with a few more maple leaves sifted through them:
I am grateful for every spot of color that is left.
And I got to finally go see my sister, who had a baby and only lives four hours away and here he was, a month old before I saw him! It’s an odd feeling of going back in time to see Rachel with four little children and to realize that three of hers are younger than my baby. It brings back the days of endless wiping and sippy cups and the bleary-eyed wearying joy that is babies. We were blessed with bare-foot weather and the children spent the entire time outside, leaving us to sip coffee and cuddle little Zachary.
It was a good time. I look forward to the rest of fall. In an effort to be totally candid here, I have to confess that last week I finally took down a swag of (fake) forsythia that I had twined around a sign in my living room back in May. It says, “Home is where your story begins.” I decided to be daring and twine a bit of fall foliage around it. Hopefully I won’t forget to switch it out with holly. I figure some day my children will mention that their story definitely did not begin with a perfectly appointed house, but if they remember the times their mother dragged them outside of themselves and onto a trail to somewhere else, I will be glad.
How about you? How are you savoring the season? Double points if it doesn’t include pumpkin lattes.