August 2011: Fall | Notes Archive

FALL 2011

Round about the middle of August, something feels different in New Hampshire. The peak of the summer has passed and we move in another direction, but, before we reach that destination, we pass through a magnificent spectacle -- foliage.



We are so in touch with the outdoors all summer long. Pleasures abound.

Yet, the whisper of things to come is tantalizing. It is a dying process, and with that is a certain melancholy, but there is also brilliance to experience. The repetition of the pattern of the changing seasons is the hallmark of northern New England life.



We slowly begin to focus on the indoors where we will find refuge and warmth and the companionship of the people and animals we love, and even the inanimate objects around the house take on special meaning. We look toward the holidays and the gathering of family and friends, and we celebrate the traditions we have inherited to guide us through the winter.

Wood harvesting has been one of the constants in our life in North Salem,NY, and now in Acworth. The fires are at the center of life, and the woodpile is reassuring as the signs of the season to come begin to emerge. We are all in it together as our neighbors start their stacks. My friend Matt creates the most wonderful "haystacks" or "beehives" of his wood in the yard of his beautiful farmhouse. They are works of art, as is everything Matt does in farmkeeping.

I am convinced that deep contentment lives in not only the acceptance of change, but the celebration of it. We will all grumble about the impenetrable ice and the heaps and heaps of snow, the oil bills and the chill winds, but, what would summer be without winter ? A warm wool sweater can be as wonderful as bare feet in the grass. And, that stack of delicious books by the side of the bed reminds us that the inner life needs the nurturing of the cozy hearth on a winter night.



On a beautiful day at the end of August, sadness came with the death of a beloved friend: Ginny Clark.

Before we came together as friends, she discovered my shop in NYS and shared my passion for the dolls, toys, small furniture, children's books - all the stuff that I love. A deep fondness grew and she and Jim became important friends. They regularly visited Acworth and Ginny was a true "playmate" for me.

Her illness and death have brought me to my knees. The day of her death, I happened to be paging through a favorite book, "Mother and Child" by Nell Dorr, a collection of compelling photographs. This quote jumped out :

"....I find it (Life) equally in joy and sorrow. In the greatest of each, in birth and in death, I find an almost unbearable beauty....There is beauty in a calm so deep, there is no bottom....There is beauty in silence..."

Farewell, Ginny, my pal. I hope all the dogs are there.