Keep­ing It Real

Soundings - - Underway -

Fall. Is there an eas­ier sea­son to love? The sticky haze of sum­mer has faded to a pleas­ant mem­ory. You re­dis­cover your fa­vorite sweater and briefly con­sider ( and dis­card) the idea of socks. The scent of hard­wood smoke per­fumes the air, and stately maples com­mence their pageants: red and gold leaves wav­ing so long against crisp blue skies full of high, white cir­rus. If you lis­ten closely to an au­tumn breeze at night, it sounds like gath­er­ing whispers, ru­mors of win­ter.

Wait — don’t think about win­ter yet! Although re­tail is al­ready flog­ging Christ­mas dis­plays, and the sea­son of run-amok pumpkin spice will soon be end­ing, fall is still here, right now.

Even as na­ture marches to­ward hi­ber­na­tion, au­tumn feels like it’s a time for fresh starts, new be­gin­nings. And like the first page of a blank notebook, its per­fect po­ten­tial won’t last for­ever.

Wrest ev­ery mo­ment of en­joy­ment from this ideal sea­son. Rivers are empty of traf­fic, their lush col­ors dou­bled in the mir­ror of stilled wa­ter. Un­der­way at sea it’s just cold enough to make you feel ex­tra-alive. What’s bet­ter than a hot bev­er­age on a chilly deck as you watch the sun rise across a sea-smoked cove?

If you’ve al­ready hauled out, get in a kayak and pad­dle through some wet­lands. Ducks and geese linger, post­pon­ing their mourn­ful over­head vees of south­bound honk­ing. The soft sound of the pad­dle break­ing the wet and the lonely loon song will swell your heart with beauty.

In no other sea­son does na­ture so clearly re­mind us of her gifts, the safe place she of­fers us to dis­con­nect from the noise of a chaotic world and feast on splen­dor that is pre­ciously real. It won’t al­ways be here — nor will we — so don’t miss it. msouth@aim­me­

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