LOCAL VIEW –The Glory Days–

One of my daughters has a way of choosing just the perfect boyfriend to test my spirituality. I tend to breathe deeply, in a seething manner, when I first hear of her latest friend, but I think God forgives me, for mostly I remain mute. Then, after a great deal of spiritual endeavor on my part, just when I’m getting over whatever prejudice was stirred up, and am starting to really like the fellow, he suddenly is history, and I am introduced to the next poor fool aspirant.

After too much of such soap operatic doings, (seventeen years),  I find it hard to get as excited, or even as interested, as I used get when my daughter was thirteen. I’ve been worn down. The latest fellow is an illegal immigrant from Brazil. Big deal. I just sort of nodded from my computer when he first came into the house, until my wife gave me a hidden kick. Only then did I remember it is polite to shake hands and look interested.

But one interesting thing about the fellow is he had never seen leaves change before. He didn’t live far enough south in Brazil to see the occasional Antarctic frosts and snows of their far south, and had grown up where leaves pretty much stay green.  He was startled, even a little alarmed, to be driving about (without a licence) and see very strange things happen to all the trees. fol-1-img_4015

It is odd how you can take such beauty for granted, if you’ve seen it most of your life. I was glad I had an outsider to remind me to get out see the view. One place I like to go is the flat-lands of the Sharon Stretch (a good place to drive over 100 mph late at night, unless you meet a moose coming out of the swamp).fol-2-img_4017

It was so beautiful I forgot my errand, and got out to wander into the swamp’s blueberry barrens.fol-3-img_4018

It’s a good place to get the blue and orange reflected below, as well as above.

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These trees are called “swamp maples” and always seem to be the first to change, perhaps because the cold settles into the lowlands first. I call the flaring of color in the swamps “candy autumn” because it is sweeter, brighter and warmer than when the cold really starts to hit and hold.

Once I was out I wanted to stay out, but I had to get back and work. Back at the Childcare many trees were still green, but a swamp maple (which gets called a “red maple”, when they root outside a swamp), was peeking from the oaks.

Unfortunately I couldn’t even hang out with the kids, and see if they appreciated the beauty or just took it for granted, because I have tax problems to deal with. Nothing like sitting indoors and gnawing a pencil to make you appreciate your own back yard.

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5 thoughts on “LOCAL VIEW –The Glory Days–

  1. Nice pics Caleb! I lived in the White Mountains when I was in grade school. My dad was the district ranger on the National forest so I had a view of the Presidential Range from my upstairs bedroom. I just thought that it was like that everywhere and never understood why there were busses from New York full of old people in my town looking at the leaves. Now I really miss those colors. Even in Santiago we don’t get the colors. Still need to go about 600 km south toward the cold. I’ve seen pictures of southern Chile in the fall and its beautiful but nothing like a NH fall!

    • One of my favorite garrulous-old-man stories is this:

      Years ago, one way I could under-bid other landscapers was to use a rake, which cost ten dollars, rather than a leaf blower that cost two hundred. Removing leaves from lawns took me longer but I actually did a better job, and rich old ladies appreciated how I got leaves from obscure corners and didn’t make an unholy noise. However when I hit age fifty I was getting very tired, at the end of eight hours raking and raking and raking, and began to start to feel sorry for myself.

      One client had a gorgeous place down an obscure road in a remote part of town, and I was feeling very sorry for myself as I started to rake her huge lawn, which was surrounded by enormous maples. If I didn’t rake several times the leaves could get pretty deep, so I was raking even when the trees were still full of brilliantly crimson leaves. But the important point is that the violins of self-pity were really wailing, as I faced an acre of lawn on a frosty dawn with a clear blue sky. Then, as I raked, I heard a strange sound. It sounded all the world like a huge bus squeezing between the stone-walls of a country lane full of deep potholes.

      When the noise came into view, it indeed was a huge bus squeezing between the stone walls of a country lane full of deep potholes. It was leaning and squeaking and tilting left and right somewhat dangerously, and seemed to be nearly all glass towards the top, and was filled with people I identified as “not from ’round these parts.” (To be honest, I had a politically incorrect thought, of four letters, “Japs.”)

      When the bus passed the lawn I was raking it stopped. I thought it might tip over, so many Asians pressed against the glass, to take a picture of a rustic Yankee using an actual rake, rather than a leaf blower. Then they drove on, and didn’t pay me a cent.

      Rather than offended, I experienced a change in attitude. I looked around, and understood people pay exorbitant amounts to travel half-way around the planet to experience what I gripe about.

      It ruined my self-pity.

      • Ha ha! That’s great! We had a front lawn in Bethlehem that was a full acre and was lined with sugar maples. We would rake all fall and then in the spring haul sap buckets from the trees to the state of the art sugar bush operation that the old man had. It was two 50 gallon Rubber Maid garbage cans for collection and all of my moms large pans for boiling sap over a jury rigged fire pit. I miss those days (and the slightly burnt syrup too)!

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