Joyce Maynard’s Guide to Fall in New Hampshire

The stretch of Route 12 from Cornish, going south, is considered one of my favorites in the state, with the sort of huge, sweeping views foliage seekers sometimes journey north to discover. It was 6:30 p.m. once we reached Walpole — a city whose profile has been vastly elevated by the presence of the filmmaker Ken Burns. Within the common retailer, there may be an unusually effective array of cheeses and takeout — nice for filmmaking crews and fall foliage picnics. Simply down the highway is an ideal place to devour these things: Alyson’s Orchard, the place you should buy a half dozen or extra forms of apples, or choose your individual and eat them in the orchard (presumably with that good cheese) looking to the pink and golden hills.

For Jordan and me, the hour was nearer to dinner than lunch, so we headed again into my onetime dwelling of Keene (I wrote my novels “The place Love Goes” and “To Die For’’ there) — often called the city with America’s widest foremost road. A few years again, the town funded a mission to paint murals on the perimeters of brick buildings that includes highlights of Keene’s historical past. My favourite is the portrait of Jonathan Daniels, who grew up a number of homes from the one the place my youngsters and I as soon as lived. Daniels was shot in Alabama in 1965 whereas taking part in a Civil Rights motion.

I nonetheless bear in mind the city’s Pumpkin Competition. Each Halloween the residents would be a part of forces to create a Guinness-world-record variety of carved pumpkins that volunteers would arrange with flickering candles on scaffolding all through the sq.. However my favourite half got here later — someday round midnight on Competition Evening — once I’d stroll again into city alone to take in the sight of all these glowing jack-o’-lanterns with no person else round. No pumpkin pageant this yr, due to Covid, however organizers promise it is going to return.

It was previous 9 p.m. once we bought again to the little cottage on a dust highway the place I spend my summers now, a home I’d be locking up in every week or two, when the nights bought too chilly. Jordan and I had lined virtually 400 miles since we headed out that morning, and I used to be feeling the burden of endings. Days getting shorter. My November birthday looming. One other yr winding down.

I seemed out on the lake on which my little New Hampshire summer time cottage sits, with its solitary loon. The crickets had been chirping, which made me take into consideration the chapter of “Charlotte’s Net” I had simply completed studying out loud in the automobile.

“Even on essentially the most stunning days in the entire yr — the times when summer time is becoming autumn — the crickets unfold the rumor of disappointment and alter,” wrote E.B. White. “‘Summer time is over and gone,’ repeated the crickets.”

White bought it proper. Each autumn brings a small dying, marked by essentially the most superb explosion of coloration, like the ultimate spherical of a fireworks present earlier than the sky goes silent. The excellent news: the seasons hold turning. Come spring, new leaves will sprout and we’ll start the cycle once more, if luck is with us.

Joyce Maynard’s most up-to-date novel is “Depend the Methods,” the story of 1 household’s 4 many years on a New Hampshire farm.

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