Monday, October 11, 2010

Through the Window

I can smell fall through the window. It is creeping in to revive my sniffly nostrils. It comes and goes in waves, like my anxiety about the future.

As much as we bitched about the foliage tourists, we were just as guilty as them. The brash self-confidence of youth removes itself from the range of its own criticism. The weekend whirls in my mind, an extemporaneous exercise in escape from 'the city.' Returning to Russell Pond, where my family camped when I was a wee lad, brought memories of tang and Salamander hunts, leaking tents and water-tight spirits, coleman stoves and long drives, family, fun, and the idyllic natural getaway of the New Hampshire woods. Hiking most of Mount Lafayette just to escape the tree line, feel the icy rime of the Alpine zone, and see the view, was as taxing as it was rewarding. Leaving on Sunday night was a good idea, for we all had "lots of stuff" to do today. Also, the desire to avoid more leave-hunters was mutual.

I slept until noon:20 today, very soundly and restfully. One single night in a tent will make you fall in love with your bed again. One night in the woods will make your mind wander,make you question the importance of your cell phone, and make it hard to focus on your computer screen. One trek in the company of Brendan will help you identify Moose tracks and excrement, the difference between a Balsam Fir and an Eastern Hemlock, and the many forest microclimates that your feet take you through in a surprisingly short time. One whiff of the mountain stream that ambled along besides our trail will leave you wanting more. Or rather, how fortunate we were that our path wove through the trees alongside this majestic babbling brook, whose allure attracted the trail and who will outlive the trail, and ourselves.

The tree I see through my window rides the wind with style and grace, its green leaves rustle alongside the maple leaves that extend from the other tree, in the corner of the yard. Some of the maple leaves are tinged red or yellow, preparing to shed themselves in preparation for the winter. They are preparing for a great graceful fall down to the rectangle of fenced-in ground that we call the backyard. Such a great sacrifice deciduous leaves make for their trees. Perhaps that is part of the appeal of New England's fall foliage, some appreciation of such a brazen calculated strategy crucial for winter survival. The cycle of life turns on, and removed in the comfort of my elaborate shelter, I watch it through my window.

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