Fall in New England

There is a season, autumn, and a way of speaking, terse, that when matched with a rocky coastline can only mean New England.

Fall's treetop riot means change. Its hillside colors evoke reveries. The season's chill nights signal summer's end, yet sunshine, reflected off still ponds, leave heart and mind warmer than any day in August.

John Gould's writing is New England too. He stared writing for this paper in 1942. This time, it's about his sojourn in a rest home.

In the United States, a rest home takes on the trappings of late fall in a person's life. The soul's winter is "a comin'," too. The color gray is set to reign.

Put John Gould in a rest home and - "ha" (New England terse enough for you) is the word that springs to mind. Gould at rest ("ha," again). It can only mean more words spilling onto a page as naturally as red and gold leaves push aside the green on the Maine hillsides he loves.

Tell any weatherman of the soul who equates winter-gray and fallen leaves with fallen years to brace themselves. Gould is a nor'easter coming straight out of Maine. Like a sure foot on a rocky path beneath a blue sky, his writing guides the heart to past, present, and future springs.

Fall is also the best time for looking at stars. Summer nights may be perfect for being outside, but heat and humidity dim the "firefolk," as Gerard Manley Hopkins named the stars. Winter doesn't work either. Cold nights are for walking, not for shivering while looking through a telescope.

Night's infinity is so much closer, friendlier in the fall. Constellations wink down just over the treetops. See star photos and this season's sky will serve up even greater wonders.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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