My title is from a poem I had to memorize in grade school, and it still comes into my mind almost every year when the light slants sharply in the late afternoon, and the trees change color. The month of October sped by. It’s always a month of transition, when we return to the US from our travels, visit family and friends, see a few doctors, and head to Peru for the winter.
Our plans often change during this period, and this year was no different. Initially, Jonathan was heading to Peru just a few days after we arrived in Chicago, and I planned to follow three weeks later. As it turned out, we have both been in Chicago for six weeks, changing our flights to mid-November. We planned to visit our daughter Lillian and her husband Neil on our first weekend back. It is always fun to see the improvements in their house in Champaign, and to taste Lillian’s cooking with Neil’s delicious home-brewed beer. Rather than that being our only visit this month, the silver lining in our extended visit has been the opportunity to see friends in and outside the Chicago area, and take some walks through the trees as they change color.
I took a swing around the eastern US, with a stop in Asheville, NC, where the trees were just changing, the farmers market was full of pumpkins, and the mountains are always beautiful.
From there, I went east to Syracuse, where I visited my mother (She turns 97 in Feb.). We ran errands, visited the cemetery, and decorated for Halloween. We were able to visit my brother Tim and his wife Margie at their home on Otisco Lake, a beautiful spot. I took a few walks around the property of The Nottingham, where mom lives, and found some lovely places. I made a short exploration into the Westcott neighborhood near Syracuse University in search of a resale shop and found an area full of wall murals and interesting shops. I’d like to go back when I have more time. In the evenings, I chatted with Sharon, friend of my sister Catherine, who put me up sight-unseen! We had a good time swapping stories. Ordinarily, I stay with mom, but that isn’t allowed in these times of Covid. It’s a good break to have to leave the Nottingham at night, and on my last night, Tim, Margie, Sharon, mom, and I went out to dinner together. It was an excellent visit.
The month wasn’t over yet. From Syracuse, I drove through a downpour to Nyack to visit archaeology friends. The rain didn’t bother me particularly, as traffic was light and the roads were not flooded. I got to see the Adirondacks full of rushing streams. Dave and Lori live in a wonderful old house, carefully restored by Dave over the years, and full of remarkable things they’ve collected. I turned to look into a sitting room and burst out laughing. “I haven’t seen a stuffed head that big since Hemingway’s house in Cuba!,” I choked out. Lori assures me that the moose died a natural death (really). I think it’s almost as tall as she is.
We had a spin around Nyack to look at historic houses, and incidentally, Halloweeen displays. It is a beautiful community, and the views out over the Hudson are spectacular. From nearby, we could see the new Tappan Zee Bridge, a long span across the river, stretching away into the distance.
I drove back the way I came, ogling the flooding of low-lying stream banks and flood plains, glad that the rain had stopped. The rain muted the colors of the changing leaves, and many were knocked down by the rain, but the drive through the hills is lovely, and a weekday drive through this region is pretty quiet.
I arrived back in the Chicago area in time to spend Halloween with our friend Peggy, who put on the lights in her front garden at dusk. A parade of trick-or-treaters stopped by, and we helped hand out treats. And so, as quick as a snap of the fingers, there went October.