Fall and Winter in New England

The snow crunches beneath my shoes as I walk. Some sidewalks are bare to the cement. Others sidewalks have only a thin layer of snow upon them. This gives them an illusion of safety so the unaware will speed up and get caught on a patch of ice or slippery snow. I am not unaware, so I watch and feel my way through and still I find a patch that causes me to slide and hold out my arms for balance. I smile as I do. Other sidewalks still have snow up to my knees. I trod through those and stamp my feet on the other side to clear off the loose snow. And still I feel the snow slip into my shoes, melting and turning into water, very, very cold water.

I would not, at this moment, be anywhere else in the world. No where. I love New England. I can’t imagine not being here at this time of year. I would not choose to live anywhere else during this season. I love New England for two reasons – fall and winter.

How do I capture fall for you? How do I tell you of my love for it?

I can tell you about the trees, the oaks and the birches and the maples and the pines. I could attempt to capture the colors for you with my words. To describe for you in great detail the multitude and abundance of those colors. I could relay their vividness and variety, their shades and hues. It is impossible to truly express this to you. It must be experience to be believed. It must be lived to be understood. My repertoire of words is not large enough to do justice to this sympathy of nature. The names of all the colors are not enough. There are reds, and golds and oranges and yellows, enough to fill an imagination and overflow it. The reds are so bright and vivid that you wouldn’t think they could be real. Nature could not produce something so RED. Colors you could never mix on an artist’s palette and only search for in vain in the paint isle of any store. And still there is green, my favorite color. It dots the landscape throughout, bringing to mind the memory of past and future springs. Not out of place but perfectly blended to remind you of all that was and all that will be again.

I could speak to you of the smell of fall. The smell of old leaves and fire, the smell of crisp clean air and warm wool sweaters. I know fall has come by the smell of it. It is not the dates of the calendar or even the color of the leaves but it is the smell of it that tells me the time of change has come. That the year rolls to a close and the world begins to sleep. It is the smell of earth and hay. It is a smell that makes you want to stretch and yawn and pull the covers up and take a nap. The smell brings to mind warm baked goods and turned earth. I recalls distant memories of times when life turned more closely with the seasons of nature, instead of fleeing past in a swirl of carbon and exhaust. Fall is a cozy smell but one that holds the promise of cold.

I love the first true snow fall of every winter. The one where the snow covers the ground in a blanket of white and stays. I love walking in the snow. I love the peace of it. I love the beauty of it. It is a moment when all things of chaos and discord seem distant and far. It is a time when the world stills, stops and rests. I would capture that peace in a bottle and give it to the world to drink of. If I but could. Instead, I invite you over to sit on the couch with cocoa or tea and we would watch the snow as it falls onto the ground. Then we would venture out, bundled in our hats, coats, scarves and mittens, bracing against the cold. We would stand in the darkness and be brighten and warmed by the white wonderland all around.

I would tell you to look up into the sky, into the snow. Look up into the abundance of creativity the universe has gifted us with. A billion snowflakes fall for us this day, no two alike. They will never to be seen again once melted and gone. To even try to imagine the possibility of that many snowflakes all different, all unique, all beautiful – it makes me feel so small and so finite. It humbles me before this great gift of natures given freely and readily every season. I hold out my arms and open my month, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue as I blink away those that fall on my lashes.

I would ask you to listen to the sounds all around. Listen to the snow as it falls to the ground. It drowns the silence of the night with its melody and rhythm. It sounds like a cracking fire or the hiss of steam. No. It sounds like exactly what it is. It sounds like a snowfall during winter in New England. There is nothing else that sounds like that. Just stop and listen. Allow all else to fade from your mind but the sounds of the falling snow and the beauty of the world around.

We would then go back inside and drink more cocoa and more tea. We would speak of soft things, of calm things. Or, perhaps, we would not speak at all but only sit and watch as the snow continues to build, covering all the world in a blanket of white, peace and beauty. Watching as the night grows long and the silence deepens.

I would capture that peace and give it to the world, if I could.

Alas, all I can do is tell of my love of this place and why I would not choose to be anywhere else when the days grow short and the leaves change. All I can do is give understanding of my choosing to stay for the times when the snow falls and covers the world in white. I would not be anywhere during this time. No where else.

Close your eyes. Imagine. Can you smell the fall? Can you hear the snow?

I always can.

In love and light