In Vermont, spring is a season of mud and “surprise” snow flurries. Summer is short, most wouldn’t even call it a summer, just a “warming.” And winter? Well, winter can seem gloomy to the not-so-outdoor enthusiast, and Vermont’s extraordinarily long season can be biting with frosted jaws and chapped lips that only get more pronounced as you climb up undulating slopes. But autumn, there’s something special about autumn in our small state.
Fall, is where anything seems possible. The hillsides are bathed in magnificent grounded sunsets and your entrance to anywhere is lined with red and golden sentinels, orange archways, an artist’s palette of leaf pathways. Yes, the air becomes more bracing with the approaching cold, but it is also filled with promise, the scent is rich. The promise of specific, unbridled and momentary beauty, and the stoic desires of the season, the comfort of Vermont Flannel™ must-haves, spices and boots.
I adore fall because of its brevity, it demands witness and appreciation. It is a wake-up call to those whose summer feels as if it was stolen and/or to those who feel as if they had been left out for any reason. It is the last holler of barbecues and firepits, outdoor book nooks and last sun bathes. It makes you catch your breath, look up from the asphalt catching in your tires on the road and remember what you have forgotten since last season, the simplicity in the beauty of an orchestra of leaves that plays until each leaf is slowly and naturally severed from each branch. Autumn in Vermont makes you stand still.
Wild summer flowers have given way to the blooming ones of fall, sprigs of purple Asters, the fields a sea in the haze of Goldenrod. Like the leaves, these last flowers will remain in their brilliant way under the dimmed spotlight of sun until the first frost that will mute the world to a subtle glow. The calls of migrating geese will break the silence, as the gaps in the afternoons from already voyaged songbirds create them.
Autumn is a raw but beautiful close, it is a bitter but glorious lead up to the oncoming night of winter before Vermont becomes firmly tucked beneath a blanket of heaviest snow.
(Photo cred: Emily Hitchcock, The Vermont Flannel Company)