More difficult to appreciate is the gray chill and fog that cocoons Ashland, generally descending the first of November like a curtain drawn around the town. Except for this year. By the grace of nature, we’ve enjoyed a spectacular November of cool but not freezing temperatures, leaving the colorful leaves on the trees for longer than usual. There’s been plenty of sunshine, too, instead of the typical cold November fog.
There are abundant opportunities for hiking in and around Ashland, and we’ve been getting out every day to hike and enjoy the foliage. I lived for 10 years in New England, the epicenter of fall foliage. But honestly, I think Ashland rivals New England for autumn glory.
We’ll be here until just after the first of January, and then taking off for warmer and sunnier climes for a couple of months. I found this poem by Mary Oliver, our favorite poet. Somehow it makes it easier to accept that all of those beautiful leaves are now on the ground.
Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness
Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.