I realized that it was autumn today. When I closed the back of the Matrix before I headed out to run errands, I noticed that Tom's mom had sent home the swimsuits and Colden's floaties. That must mean that the pool is closed up for the winter, which means that now, no matter the calendar says, is the official start of autumn.
I wish I had a picture to show you of the way that the sky and the mountains looked as I drove into Wilmington, but I can tell you:
The clouds were gathering around Whiteface Mountain, making the sky a pearly white and grey. The leaves on the trees are starting to change now, too. Not terribly bright, though. The colors look much more muted than they have in years past, probably because of this drought we've had all year.
I wish I could describe it better: the rolling mountains covered in a green, red, yellow, and gold carpet in the background; the expanse of open fields and wetlands up against the edge of the forest with their yellowing grasses and shallow ponds; and the smell of the air as the seasons change, gently, so subtly that I won't even notice how I have to start wearing my wool socks to bed at night until we're well into November.
Some people think that warm summers make this place come alive, but really, its the autumn that makes me feel alive. A cool breeze caressing my arm is a reminder that we need to get ready for winter. Because, really, we spend all year getting ready for winter - cutting and stacking fire wood for the wood stove, growing the gardens and then harvesting and canning.
We take advantage of the nicer weather as an excuse to put off the mundane household chores - the dirty floors will still be there tomorrow. But really, we're spending as much time getting ready for the snow as we are enjoying the warm sun.
As I drove into Wilmington, I was thinking that I live here because of the beauty and the isolation and the peace. At first, I was thinking that life here was harder than it is in other places, but then I thought that I was wrong. It's not that life is more difficult here than in other places - we have the same issues with unemployment and economy and all the other things that go along with life.
I don't know if it's because we're surrounded with what other people might consider "nothing", but there's a sense of independence here that I haven't felt in other places. There's less of a "rat race" feel, even in the big cities of Plattsburgh, Burlington, and Albany.
I know some city dwellers and some other folks who live in the suburbs and work in the city. I just don't know if I could do that anymore. There's something about the solitude and the quiet up here, of being able to look out my window and see nothing but mountains. I can't imagine living anywhere else.