Pretty much without fail, New England itself gives to those of us who live here an annual gift. It's why we stay here, even if we don't realize or admit that it's the reason.
We call it 'fall.'
Fall makes everything else worthwhile. It makes harsh, long, icy winters worthwhile. It makes 'mud season' and 'black fly season' (the two things we get in lieu of 'spring') worthwhile. It even takes the sting out of long, hot, dry summers that manage, generally despite the lack of rain, to be pretty humid (I don't even know how that's possible, but New England serves it up that way).
You'll hear varied opinions throughout the course of any year -- those who hate winter and those who live for opportunities to ski, those who wilt in the heat and those who drink it up. And it's popular to comment about spring's being the last bit of winter's agony that you have to get through until early summer comes.
But nobody dislikes fall. Nobody. People walk around happy, smiling, commenting regularly on the progress the leaves are making in their annual turn. Nights are cool (down even to the 40s) and days are warm and sunny (upper 70s today). Not. one. cloud.
We've been taking advantage. Long hikes in our local state forest (with plans written in on the calendar for several more), with room in our hearts and our car to take Biscuit along. Plans to pick apples, and stops at farmers' markets. Apple cider. Oh, how I love a hot cup of apple cider....
Soccer games played in conditions that make you just plain giddy to be alive, to be so lucky as to be sitting at the edge of the field, watching the boys play.
Plans and energy to cook interesting things for dinner, to start thinking about crafting again, to star-gaze. If you've been around here for a while you may have heard me ponder this sort of thing before: would I revel in it this much if we had it all year long? Would I notice it, notice the quality of the light and the scent on the breeze if that were how it was every day? I have to admit that I'd probably get tired of it, probably would take it for granted, probably would yearn to travel somewhere else for a change.
But for now I'm staying put, and loving every moment.