My season in Wilton is coming to an end and I’m feeling pretty good about things. Finishing my new book was my goal and, having sent it off to the publisher, I have a few days to play. The weather has shifted and it’s chilly. I can’t sit out on the deck anymore with my morning coffee – instead I throw a shawl around my shoulders and stand for a few minutes looking out over the yard of trees that tower before me in a wash of yellow. Small dog, Charlotte, is at my feet with her head poking through the railing. She barks when she spots a squirrel gnawing on an acorn and I can’t help but smile. There’s a lot going on this time of year and like me, she can’t seem to get enough.
It’s impossible to spend September and October in New England and not be entranced by the fall landscape. The shifting weather makes me nostalgic and I ask my friend, Penny, if she will drive with me to visit some of our old college haunts in nearby Westchester. She comes over later in the day and we buckle Charlotte into her car seat and head out. Everywhere we look there is something to feast our eyes upon. Leaves gather in piles of gold along the stone walls and flutter in through the sunroof of the car. Colorful autumn wreaths decorate the doors of antique houses, their porches set with mums. There is that hide-and-reveal as we make our way through the winding country roads, coming around bends to face clusters of flaming trees, crimson, gold, and purple. The sun is warm on our backs, and slanted beams of light filter through the forests making the display even more dazzling. Along the way we pass my favorite spot in the road where someone has let the pumpkin vines drift over the stone wall. Orange and green orbs in various sizes sit on the mossy wall and lay in the grass below it. As we drive through the village of Penny’s home town, Armonk, N.Y., we reminisce about the times we spent at her parents’ house and babysitting for a local family whose three little girls, all grown up now, we still adore. We pass by both houses, taking a few minutes to sit outside and snap pictures with our phones, remembering what it was like to be twenty-one again. My, how different things are now. Both of us are enjoying our little road trip down memory lane, but we can’t really explain why. It just feels good to be together and process shared experiences after so many years.
By late afternoon the air has cooled down, and I root around the back seat for my sweater. I feel lucky when I catch a hint of smoke in the air. Someone has lit a fire. The changing weather seems to be the perfect metaphor for our lives. Time to turn the car around and head home.