Traveling the world one sees and smells many unusual sights and scents but no place I have been compares to autumn time in the northeastern United States. Coming home to America in the autumn means a few jaunts to the countryside to see the annual display of the American Maple, Oak and Elm trees change from green to orange, yellow and red. I love this time of year and I especially love being back in my hometown in rural central New York State to enjoy the scent of the crisp autumn air, the smell of drying leaves and to see the riot of color that adorns each hillside, borders the country lanes and dots the cow pastures. Its the last gasp of color before the monochrome of the winter months settle onto the land.
Central New York State sure is a bucolic part of the world. It is truly a technicolor dream.
The old barns pop out from the landscape, their peeling paint and faded white silos juxtapose one another. It feels like a Rockwell painting.
Time does stand still here. It is a comfort to me as I travel the big world to come back to this place where the people are friendlier and have time to "shoot the breeze". Life takes a more leisurely pace here, rolling along like the seasons. There is a continued connection to the land and the people. Farms have long been owned by the same families through many generations, often families and extended families live just a few miles from one another as they have for 200 years. When I go back and find myself speaking with someone I don't (think I) know, the first questions are usually, "What's your last name?" "Who is your father?" Everyone here knows everyone else by extension. I find myself eagerly trying to make the connection; "My Dad was...", "my Uncle was..." or "my Mom was...". Sooner or later we find the link and then the conversation can get really going with reminiscence of times 40 or 50 years ago that oddly, seem like just the other day.
Traveling the world is wonderful but going home to my roots is a sweet reminder that I am truly just a small town country girl at heart.
Traveler's Note: Sure, New England gets lots of attention in the fall for "leaf peeping" and pristine old villages. But, central New York has all that and more. Here you can feel the history of intrepid pioneers settling in and making a life for themselves. There is a strong and active Native American history and in many cases these early settlers and native americans peacefully co-existed. The author, James Fenimore Cooper lived in Cooperstown and wrote about the area including The Last of the Mohicans. The main character wore on his legs, what Cooper referred to as "leather stockings" hence, this part of NY State is called the Central Leatherstocking Region. If you are interested in history and pastoral surroundings, this part of NY State will not disappoint.