Nantucket in the Quiet Season
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, November 27, 2014
This is Thanksgiving weekend. In years past, I shared our hilarious Thanksgiving festivities. This time I want to share the quiet season; the pleasure of seeing leaves floating in puddles, the thrill of seeing trees devoid of their foliage, showing off a filigree of branches and twigs.
“A Walk in The Woods” was one of my favorite books about the author’s trek of the entire Appalachian Trail - all 2,000 miles of it! For me a half- mile walk through Nantucket’s moors and grasslands is an unbelievable treasure. It is a quiet, serene experience. There is no longer fall’s vivid display of colors. Instead you see the majesty of barren trees, berry-laden bushes and golden grasses swaying like waves in the sea. Leaves die quietly on country roads turning from burnished reds and gold to mellow shades of taupe. Once flaunting brilliant colors, they are now shrived in size and reveal their delicate veins. You must look down at the ground to see the last leaves plastered onto the wet pavement or blowing past your feet by a burst of wind.
The landscape is transformed into a panorama of muted colors against a gray sky. Threatening clouds whisk across the somber heaven. I am in love with this time of year; it has its own special beauty. A tree that once bore leaves and berries has long since died; its barren stems become a sculptors dream. Dressed in shades of grey with white trimmed windows, the distant town lies quietly on the horizon, only the white church steeples reach above the roofs.
Fall in my garden has its own time schedule. First to drop are the leaves of the wild cherry and crabapple trees. The rose bushes have long ago shed theirs. Last is my Japanese maple, it holds on to its foliage through wind and cold, but overnight, like the strike of a conductor’s baton, all leaves drop to the ground and turn the muddied earth into a red carpet. These too soon drift away.
In other years a little snow had fallen to put a finishing touch on this idyllic scene. This year our temperate weather has eluded it. It will come sooner or later after I have left the Island. We have rain instead, lots of it - with blustery winds gusting to fifty, canceling all plane and ferries. We are once again an Island thirty miles out at sea, separated from the mainland by an angry ocean. Darkness descends early from the rain-filled sky casting a somber visage to my fall’s idylls. But even that has its allure. After all, what can be better than roasting chestnuts over glowing embers in the fireplace?
Me on a walk in the woods
My son Illya painted this picture of the same scenes in the fall
And finally, my friend Betsey, who encouraged me to walk every day and patiently carried my sit-stick for me to rest on when I got exhausted.
I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving