Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making The Transistion

With the change of seasons comes those chores we annually perform to say goodbye to one season, and hello to the next. This week is one of those weeks, and I have the list.

The air conditioners are out of the windows, but need to be hauled up to the attic. That's not a problem, Mary is very strong. There are a couple of fans that will join them there. Yard furniture put away. Summer shorts and t-shirts packed away, and the flannels pulled out of the moth balls. The set back thermostat needs some tweakin', and some weather strip needs to be put up along a new door.

There are many more things on the list, but that will do for now. I won't run out of things to do, and if I do, I'll just make more up just to keep busy. Waxing the refrigerator drives my wife nuts, but keeps me off the street at night.

I really enjoy this transition period into fall till just before the leaves are off the trees. After that I have a really hard time with the short, gray days, but there is always the winter list, and that is a lifesaver. Home Depot loves that list.

This morning I woke up as Mary was heading out the door to work around 6:15. The heat had come on just enough to knock the chill out the air. The old steam radiators will keep the house very warm for hours after the furnace shuts off. I think steam heat is the best. Outside it was gray and foggy, and cold. Not a breath of wind, the trees still with anticipation of what the day will bring.

The mist and fog here in Sturbridge in the fall is unlike anything I've seen elsewhere. As I drive home in the morning there is often a large fog bank hovering over Exit 9 that suddenly appears. Walker Pond is shrouded in that low lying cloud, and it covers the ground all the way to the toll booth. It is a scene out of a Stephen King novel.

Once through the toll booth the sun is bright, and the fog seems to evaporate around the road. It's as if I am driving into a secret kingdom surrounded by a moat of fog that suddenly lifts when it recognizes one of its own.

Driving west along Route 20 the mist reappears to accent the trees on Stallion Hill and the land along the river. When the leaves are in full color you cannot find a prettier sight in all of New England.

Autumn is a time for different chores, harvesting, and change of weather, but it also refocuses our eyes to the world around us. The hills take on a different glow when the angle of the sun decreases. Our lakes and meadows steam with mist in the mornings, and look like a scenes from a Yankee Magazine calendar. Pumpkins punctuate the fall earth tones, and mums brighten our door steps.

I have always enjoyed the spring the most, but as I've grown older I have begun to understand why we are given the colors, and cool, soft air of Autumn. It is a gift to prepare us for those short gray days, and long dark nights of Winter. A last hurrah of sorts. It prepares our souls for the emptiness of December, until the sun begins to linger longer in January.

Until then we will soak in the fall. Store up all the colors, smells, and sounds offered us, and when the those cold, colorless days of winter appear, we can pull out those memories to help get us through til Spring.

I need to get moving on that list now. I want to get as much done during the week as I can. After all, there is football that needs watching on the weekend.

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