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November 9, 2012

Another Side
By Jon Berman

Is fall on the way? Some folks cringe as if the autumn season is solely responsible for the harsh icy snow to follow. But as I drove through Huntington this morning the top of a tree was beginning to turn orange, and my admittedly nostalgic mind began to turn away from summer with the leaves that had fulfilled their seasonal duty.

The summer seemed to start in March this year, and the growing season was hot and much too dry. Drought conditions have enveloped much of the country, and I can only hope that there will be pumpkins to pick and apple cider to drink with my son after reading that pumpkins are suffering blight and apples are early. Hope that it’ll get cool enough to throw on jeans and a sweater to hike with the family up in the white mountains. Pick a few apples, clean up the yard, and get in a few barbecue dates with the neighbors. Catch a Patriots game and recreate the winning drive with the boy on the backyard. Fall is so full of energy, and here in western Massachusetts lies the focal point. I’m just waiting to see a wagon filled with the last bales of hay.

Some folks want to extend the summer as long as possible, but not me. I want the earth to cool off. To feel the crisp air in the morning, see my breath in the frost, hear the crunch of the leaves, and smell the wood fire. I’m ready for the  bugs to disappear and the LL Bean Christmas catalog to come. It’s time to listen to stories that my son brings home from school and bring him with me in my truck for some weekend adventures.

But it’s just the beginning. The anticipation. The hints. An acorn falls and a chipmunk scurries through a stone wall. Neighbors disappear for a week or two to go hunting. Someone lights a fire one night and the wood smell puts you in that state of mind. The sun sets a little earlier and the flip flops are traded in for Birkenstocks and wool socks on your local college campus. Hand painted signs advertise apples and hayrides, and even retail stores turn ablaze with the orange of Halloween. A passing snow flurry is almost possible the first night the temperature dips.

Of course parking in Boston becomes more scarce and driving in Westfield goes from annoying to impossible with the influx of students back at colleges, but here’s the thing. Autumn in New England is hands-down, unbeatable.

A person can have an awful day at work, and be restored with a breath of the crisp air. A weekend of trying to clean up the yard is made easier with leaves for a kid to jump into. The world begins to move a little faster into a season of promise, holidays, and fresh beginnings of a new year.
We’re almost there. I’m going to go pull my sweaters out.

Jon Berman is a musician who lives in Blandford. He can be reached at jon@jonbermanmusic.com

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