Coffin: Amazing Autumn

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(HOST)  Commentator Howard Coffin had to search a bit this year to find real color, but according to him – it was worth it.

(COFFIN) Each autumn, Grandmother Coffin’s words about foliage come back to me: "It will always amaze you."

And my mother advised yearly, as we walked some upland pasture surrounded by colored maples, "Always take time to enjoy it, Howard. Get out into it."

But this year, all seemed lost. The leaves around my home withered and browned early. Then came a deluge and I wakened to see most of the leaves driven down. But my wife Sue insisted last Sunday we take a ride.

So off we went beneath a pure blue sky, east on Route 2 from Montpelier and through Marshfield, seeing only an occasional glimpse of color. But turning south on gravel Mack Mountain Road we topped a rise and, lo and behold, we were in a tunnel of reds and golds, old maples at the peak of peak. And across a field of deep green bordered by fall glory the familiar summits of Mansfield, Camels Hump, and Lincoln marched bluish and beautiful down the Green Mountains.

On we drove toward Peacham, presented at every turn with splendor, brilliant hues covering hillsides above gleaming white old farmhouses and red and weathered barns.

In Peacham, autumn majesty framed the distant White Mountain giants Lincoln, Moosilauke, and Washington. Toward Ryegate, black and white cattle grazed by a dark pond from which abruptly soared a slope of wild yellow and pink.

A bluejay rose screaming from a stone wall to add blue and white to a kaleidoscopic branch.

Near Groton, we glanced down a side road not only lined, but roofed and carpeted, with bright leaves. And so miles of wonder passed by as did the minutes of a day we never wanted to end.

On the way home, facing the brightest sunlight earth knows, my grandmother and mother seemed as close as my wife beside me. Autumn not only brings color, but with it the past. The ghosts return on the crisp and scented air, among them those who taught me the love of this magical season.  Then I recalled my father, New England silent, sometimes  betraying his love of peak foliage with a silver tear. Mother’s old words came back, "Howard, get out into it." I had. Again, autumn had amazed me. Hallejulah!

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