Being Here

It’s Columbus Day weekend and I am not on duty. Why not join the hordes on the highway and go somewhere? But where would we go? We are already here.

The sun is shining and the leaves in northwestern Connecticut have been officially pronounced to be at “peak” color. The drivers on our roads are annoying the natives by obeying the speed limit for a change in order to take in the color.

Besides, there’s work to be done. It’s also peak season for hickory nuts. There are several places I pass frequently on the road where the roadside is littered with hickory nuts. It would be foolhardy to stop on a major highway to scoop them up, but it can be almost as dangerous to collect them at the south end of my orchard. I was there yesterday and picked up a hundred of them without being hit – not by cars but by the falling nuts. A four inch hickory nut falling from a height of fifty feet would surely get your attention if it hit you. In the time I was there, half a dozen came rustling down through the leaves and landed with a thud within ten or fifteen feet.

But think of that: free food falling from above. Like manna in the wilderness. Come Thanksgiving and Christmas it will all be translated into hickory pie. Meanwhile it provides me with an activity for the hands while the eyes are on the playoff games and early season football.

Today the drivers from less happier lands cruise the highways for a brief glimpse of this earth of majesty, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, New England.

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