My husband, Art, was brought up in a small town in Connecticut, and when his parents were alive, we used to go there at least once a year in autumn to visit.
Every time we were there, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. Late September is, of course, an ideal time of year to visit. The leaves are magically beginning to turn – yellow, red, gold. The sky can be grey and heavy one day, blue and sparkling the next. The air is crisp and cool.
Coming from Los Angeles, it seemed as if we had stepped into another world altogether. The majority of the houses were very old by American standards – many over two hundred years old. Architectural styles are “Colonial”, “Cape”, “Victorian” or “Saltbox”. There is no landscaping, as we know it in SoCal. Trees, taller than the houses, are thick and substantial. You wouldn’t see so many trees clustered together in the West, because they would have been struck down by fire far too often. At that time in New England, there was plentiful rainfall, so the fire danger was minimal. (In our current state of climate emergency, I don’t know if that is still true – sadly.)
At night as we drove down the winding country roads, there were almost no lights, save for the lights inside the homes. If you looked up, you could actually see stars against a black velvet background.
Being there made my heart beat a little slower. In fact, everything slowed down just a little. I felt serene, calm, unhurried
I would recommend that you visit New England, but I’m afraid you would. We don’t want to have the place even more overrun than it is already. But then, I feel very guilty because everyone should experience New England in autumn at least once in their lifetime. To go there is to go back in time. To go back to a time when neighbors knew their neighbors and looked out for one another. A time when you couldn’t go shopping on Sunday. A time when people felt safe leaving their keys and their pocketbook in the car. A time when there really were small towns holding meetings to decide what is best for the community (as I’m sure the small town of Morris still does, to this day.) There, the American Dream is not a dream. I recommend you go and experience it for yourself. Before it disappears.
© Robin Munson