One year Upstate

A year ago, the raucous sound passing over my roof sent my cat Willow diving for the nearest shelter. It was one of the sights and sounds that soothed my heart and made me fall in love with my new home. The first place I ever really wanted to call “Home”.

Now they are on the move again, one assumes flying South for Winter although a few evenings lately I’ve wanted to rush out and yell “Guys! You’re going the wrong way!” But I suppose when seeking a suitable roost, they are apt to fly whichever way they must.

These are geese, I think, mainly, though some are no doubt ducks. There is something so noble in the formation of their flight, something so terribly wise in the pattern of their life.

I watch them passing overhead and I feel the urge to cry out to them “Go guys, go!”

“Fly safe to your Winter home”.

I’m sad to see them leave, but they’ll be back, like the seasons that roll forever on. Some will perish, along the way, but that too is part of the cycle. No need to fret over Nature’s plan.

A year on, I am incredulous of the peace that I have found.

I thought I knew New England. I flew and drove many times to Maine, at different times of year and I liked what I saw, in spite of the constant stress those journeys always involved. Which is why, ultimately, I was drawn back to New York State, though technically it is not part of New England.

Fully aware of what Winter can bring in this part of the World, I was not afraid, and I knew that I would be entranced by the first big snowstorm and the plunging temperatures. I have to confess I would be less enthusiastic if I was without a warm, comfortable home and no need to venture beyond the bird feeder.

For my return East, Nature provided a mild Winter without drama. I almost felt deprived when no blizzard arrived to howl around the corners of the house and shake the windows or whistle down the chimney. I remember a storm like that in Maine when I was there in vain trying to help my aunty Kay at the end of her life. The peace and calm and total silence that came when the storm had passed soothed the awful ache in my heart.

Maybe that is why I like snowstorms.

Spring is a season you cannot dislike. It is the re-birth of the world around us. Oh, it has it’s drawbacks, with muddy roads from melting snow, but it is a wondrous time.

So I knew Spring would be good, but I was blown away by it. “Early Spring”, when everything is fresh and buds are just beginning to peep out, has always been a favourite time for me. I expected it to last a few days before proceeding to a short “Full Spring” and then top speed into a hot Summer.

That is not what happened. Early Spring seemed to go on forever. The sights and sounds of Full Spring got better and better and when finally we eased into Summer, I was still in love with all I saw.

How could I not love all this?

The Summers of my past were miserably hot and dusty. Everything looked tired and bedraggled. In my mind, there was nothing to like about those Summers.

Here we have thunderstorms! After a very hot day, the clouds rolled in bringing so much drama. It was magnificent and invigorating and just plain awesome. It took me back to the monsoons of SE Asia. The downpours of these storms refreshed the land and the air.

Each and every day another plant would bloom, in the garden, in the fields. Where the hills had been snow-covered, now there was corn that daily grew taller. Row upon row, all straight and long out of sight, gently swaying in the wind like gentle waves on a calm sea. All along the roads wild flowers flourished.

I no longer hate Summer!

My first suspicion of approaching Fall was when we had the visitation of a flock of starlings. I looked up from my computer one morning to see birds covering every surface outside the window. They were literally falling out of the sky.

My quick snap of the youngsters taking refreshment in the water bowl doesn’t do it justice. It was like a scene from “The Birds”.

And then with a great “whoosh” they took to the sky and flew off as one. Not quite a murmuration, but close. We saw them around for a few days, swooping here and there in search of food. They must have stripped my lawn clean!

I was fascinated by trees this year too. When Winter passed, they didn’t all burst into leaf at once, as was my previous experience. Each one renewed it’s foliage in it’s own time and, my goodness, the variety. It’s been lovely to see their full mantle. I need to learn more about them all. They are turning rust-coloured now, a work of Nature’s art all in itself, and soon they will be naked again. (I have a “thing” about naked trees!)

Eight more days and I will have come full circle, a whole year Upstate New York.

But before I finish there is something else I need to say. There is something else that brought me joy this year.

I arrived in Cambridge last year on September 30th, a week before the Bedlam Farm Open House. I had read so often of the Open House, so longed to be able to attend, and finally I did. To my great surprise I was invited to join Jon’s Writer’s Group which I enjoyed tremendously. It was such a wonderful gift!

It was, of course, Jon who persuaded me that I should have a blog and kept pushing me until it was accomplished. Writing is something I always enjoyed, but once email did away with letters, my writing also became a thing of the past. I am so glad it has been resuscitated!

Thank you so much, Jon.

6 thoughts on “One year Upstate

  1. I want to add my thanks to Jon for introducing his followers to your writings, Carolyn. I have enjoyed reading each and every one of your stories for the past year. Most of them have made me smile and some have brought tears to my eyes, but all are so intriguing that I can hardly wait for the next installment.

    I have a “thing” about naked trees also! I love it when they are leafed out, but there is just something about a bare tree that seems to open it’s soul for the world to see.

  2. I have really enjoyed your blog this year too! Thank you for sharing, I think at times could not be easy. But you write a beautiful story.

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