This afternoon we spend some time at Walden in the heart of fall.
Many autumns just slip by, with only moments of awareness, a few accidental fleeting changes to soak it in and enjoy the particular pleasures of the season. This particularly unfortunate in New England, where the fall presentation is done so expertly.
I expected I would be even less attentive to fall this time around, given the push to get my dissertation done by Christmas break. But by mid-October I had taken my second dissercation week off from work and was able to hand in a full draft to my committee. We immediately left town for a very enjoyable weekend camping with friends in the White Mountains, where the view from Mt. Lafayette provided a fantastic vantage point for the whole spectacle.
There was enough time between this trip and the first dissertation feedback that we could slip in another trip last weekend, this time to the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. The main reason to go was to finally visit Andrew at Cornell and meet up with Ken and Irene. It was great to see everyone, and it was even better that we were able to explore the waterfalls of Watkin’s Glen with enough fall foliage and sunlight to make the gorges even more stunning.
Now the final dissertation sprint has begun, but I’m thankful that won’t have to mortgage all of autumn to pay for what I hope will be a great Christmas present–for myself and for everyone else who will be glad when it’s done.
Sunday evening was the annual Lantern Parade at Jamaica Pond, a community event which involves walking around the pond with lanterns lit. Kids come in their costumes, music is playing, a cider press provide fresh apple cider–it’s a great scene.
Tonight as I was riding home from work I passed more tricker-treaters in Brookline and JP than I have for as long as I can remember, and I realized that it’s been quite some time since I lived in a residental neighborhood with enough families and kids to support conventional Halloween festivities. I didn’t think to buy any candy because I just assumed that no-one would be out–this is how warped my perspect got after living in Allston for so long.
Back in my neighbhood, I was delighted to see so many costumed kids out and about and many neighbors sitting out on their front porch with candy to greet the kids. I was disappointed not to participate, but I’m glad to know that the neighborhood does it up right. Next year, I’ll be home early and ready, sitting on the porch with the light on and a bucket of candy.
Sam Blackmon has a new site call The Jamaica Pond Project. Heres how he describes it:
Life on a Smaller ScaleWe live in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood on the south side of Boston. One of the best parts of JP is, undoubtedly, Jamaica Pond, a small, spring-fed, kettle pond.The pond covers about 60 acres and is 90 feet deep at its center, making it the largest body of fresh water in Boston. It’s ringed by a walking path that is rarely empty.Every time I walk around the path I try to find something different, or beautiful, or sad, or silly. This is what I’ve seen.
A few days ago, this photo was what I saw riding by Jamaica Pond. Hard not to miss.
Last night we had friends over to JP for the Lantern Parade around Jamaica Pond (a few pictures here), a community event featuring lanterns made by kids in the neighborhood to raise money for charity. It was blustery and cold, but it didn’t keep the faithful away, and as usual there was no shortage of super-cute costumed kids.
After our stroll around the pond, we walked back to the apartment for an autumn-themed dinner:
- Carrot Ginger Soup, served in baby pumpkin bowls
- Butternut Squash Pizza with Rosemary
- Pumpkin Cheesecake from Trader Joes, with baked pumpkin seeds on top
- Hot Mulled cider
- Red wine
The pizza was particularly tasty, so I would recommend trying it if you’re looking for a twist on the standard fall fare.
We bought the pumpkins a couple of weeks ago at the Allendale Farm, which is only a couple miles from here just on the other side of the Arnold Arboretum and is the last working farm in Boston/Brookline.
Yesterday evening I biked by this tree in Eliott Street Park and couldn’t help but stop and take a photo. There wasn’t anything subtle about it–just brilliant setting sun on brilliant yellow leaves. It was my first birthday present of the day, and things only go better as I went from there to meet Cathy for a picnic next to Jamaica Pond.
Last year on my 30th, I wrote about spending the morning at Mt. Auburn Cemetery; this year I revisited birthday leaves by returning the Consecration Dell to see if the leaves and the water had composed a similar scene. This time around, the pond was less uniformly green, but the leaves still embedded themselves on its surface to great effect.
This morning I took some time to myself and spent my first hours as a 30-year-old at Mt. Auburn cemetery with may camera and my walking shoes. After breakfast at Zaftig’s in Brookline and before heading back to BC for work, I lucky enough to find myself in Concecration Dell where I noticed the green film that had been accumulating during the summer now had a layer of new-fallen leaves embedded in it. Contemplating the leaves in a a garden cemetery seemed like a fittingly meditative way to begin my third decade –just enough momento mori to set a reflective mood without getting too morbid.
There are more photos from this morning in the “Leaves” photo gallery.