The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.
Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.
Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.
It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!
Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.
Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.
Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?
Okay, friends, take a gander at this beautiful scenery and you’ll know why I relish my walks in this small town in New England. It all started this summer when my mother-in-law visited and we trekked a six-mile or more hike through every corner of this hamlet. From then on, I caught the walking bug and found that I felt really great physically and emotionally when I hit the pavement. Most days I walked by myself about a mile or so. Other times I walked a few times with co-workers after school, panting and chugging the whole way. (About three or miles each time.)
A few weeks ago I took a chance and asked my neighbors to walk. We’ve lived here almost three years and unfortunately I hadn’t connected with them yet. I’m beyond blessed that I’ve made two friends in the walking process. Anita, Irene and I walked twice a week up our road and stretching uphill towards town with friendly conversation shaping our walk.
Anita has taught me that it’s healthy to set a positive intention everyday. In the mere hours of a quiet morn, I sit still and reflect on the coming day. At this time I also pray to God for the people in my life and for ones in need. In the peace of these moments, I’ve started to set a positive intention to focus on for the day.
My intention is to focus on something new everyday and breathe positive air into my corner of the world. The first positive intention was calm. That day whenever something stressful appeared , I focused and breathed of calm. The next day my positive intention was confidence. I have fought low self-esteem much of my life, especially at work when I have to be on top of my game. Although I had a rough day, my lesson was that I need to be confident with whatever life throws at me. Fastball zingers happen and it’s up to me to stay strong and take them as they come.
As the autumn season rushes in, our daylight is diminishing. Walks may be less frequent and more spontaneous on weekends and such. As I reflect on this, I am extremely grateful for our country walks with fresh air and mountain scenery, fit for a postcard. A nearby pasture hosts curious cows watching our steps down the road with keen interest. Trees shed leaves of crimson and mustard yellows, wind swirling them in squalls. These nature strolls are even richer with the company of two really nice people!
I challenge you to try to set a positive intention everyday. Some ideas to focus on are peace, calm, giving, listening, smiling more and forgiveness. Meditate in a quiet spot in the morning before you plunge into your day. Write your intention down and how it could help you grow. It’s been a healthy practice for me and an inspirational way to stay positive in a chaotic world.
Imagine a comfortable warm afternoon at the lake. As you sit on the beach, you dig your toes in the smooth sand, getting lost in the luxurious heat. The lake smells of a fresh earthy scent, yet there is a faint musty odor as well. People smell of sunscreen rubs and bug spray. Wet dogs shake their hair upon emerging from the lake.
Many families are spending their vacation here, at the Mountain Lake Campground, nestled in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Laughs ring throughout the beach, an indication of content families basking in vacation togetherness.
I sit by myself reading a book. A few years ago I would’ve been on edge and not truly relaxing. The boys would’ve been swimming in the lake, racing to the dock a few yards away while I worried if I could help them if they struggled. I’ve never been a good swimmer and almost drowned when I was 8. This still haunts me today, especially if I’m in charge of little ones in the water.
This day at the beach is a stark difference. The boys are not here and are working this day. It’s my mother in law’s and my twelfth year camping together but the first one without children. My husband has a busy work schedule in the summer with his lawn business and part time job for the town, forcing him to skip most of the camping trips. There were a few times he could camp and so we would race away for the weekend, towing the pop up camper with two excited boys.
This beautiful day as I sit in my quiet reflective thoughts, I thank God for my body being still. I really have a hard settling myself and giving in to relaxation. This moment at the beach is pure serenity, stillness that is unmatched. I also praise Him for giving me the gift hearty laughter of the families and my ability to enjoy it and smile with them. I am genuinely happy for them.
The silent lake holds the key to my stillness and serenity. The water calmly ripples ever so gently from a kayak cutting through it. In the left swampy corner, one can spot a sea of white, water lilies creating a beautiful scene. Overlooking the glossy tranquil water stands strong stately mountains, guarding the lake with clusters of pines and firs growing around its circumference. I wonder which animals congregate within them.
When you clear your mind of racing thoughts and jarring problems, you’re on the path to stillness. Open your heart to peace and acceptance of the moment. It’s a must that you give your body complete permission to allow it to happen, to enter relaxation and let go of everything. Maybe you can’t visit the lake and beach often and that’s okay. Seek a peaceful spot in your yard, perhaps under a special tree. Use that spot to be still and with that, your every being will cherish the peace.
I live in the mountains up North and love them like close family. My heart also belongs at the beach. If I had to choose between the two, I couldn’t!
I’m loyal to the steadfast mountains for they are my home. Believe it or not I never tire of their monstrous slopes and gray faces. It’s peaceful and quiet, close to nature and God. This time of year snow frosts them and driving by close to Cannon Mountain miniature skiers sway to and from down the trails. The air is as fresh as you get and while hiking you can smell wafts of pine.
Then there’s the sea…
I don’t remember the first time that I saw the ocean or smelled it’s salty, fishy scent. I do know that once I left it, it’s calm and soothing essence stayed in my soul. I can count on one hand how many times I visited the shore as a child and teenager but the frequency increased as I grew into a woman. Every time I walk along the sandy beach and feel the sizzling sun bake my skin and gaze at the horizon of blue and crest of white, I love it even more.
As every year passes, these places remain to be a part of me. How thankful I am to love where I live in the mountains and wake up every morning as if it’s my first day here! My husband truly loves living here too but has grown to enjoy the ocean too.
Most of our vacations are to Ogunquit, Maine, about three and a half hours from here. It’s a wonderful seaside town with outstanding restaurants, quaint little shops, and accommodations dotting here and there. We used to take the boys with nets, sand shovels and pails bouncing around in the back of our vehicle. Windows rolled down and laughter in the air, the mountains would slowly be replaced with a lower elevation and water as far as the eye can see.
I will never choose between the two…but continue to enjoy both places and love them both for different reasons. Isn’t that the best way to really live?
When you live in a place for years, it’s common that you and your family explore the surrounding area. I’ve lived in New Hampshire most of my life and know the North country pretty well. Despite this, it never gets old. I still relish in the beauty of the snow capped mountains and the winding roads leading somewhere special and the wooded forests. Is it odd that I wake up every morning gazing at our landscape and appreciating all of nature’s gifts? I don’t think so…it’s a profound love for my home, New Hampshire!
The other day Tom and I rode through Twin Mountain leading to Bretton Woods and the Mount Washington Hotel, nestled at the base of the Presidential mountain range. What a beautiful sight with monstrous mountains, frosted with a dusting of snow. This grand resort was built by Joseph Stickney in 1902. It was a booming success for years until the Prohibition Era and then the Great Depression hit. In years following renovations were made and currently the hotel is open all year, unlike the days of old when it was closed for harsh winters. It was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
We happily rode through Crawford Notch with good conversation humming and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in hand. Tom and I both love gazing at the mountains and a few times I encouraged him to pull over so he could look with his binoculars.
My favorite spot is when the road gradually narrows and you feel like you’re being encased by ledges. Twists and turns guide you through an amazing sightseeing show. The air drastically changes and even in the car you feel the temperature plummet.
Eventually we reached small quaint towns bordering fun North Conway. We slowly passed the hanging motorcycle ( see my previous post) and looked forward to an exciting day of shopping and lunch.
I would recommend you to visit Crawford Notch, where a few trails and campgrounds rest. Stop at the Willey House at Hart’s Location, a historic landmark where a landslide struck in 1826. There’s Mount Willard, a wonderful hiking trail that boasts spectacular views of the Notch and makes you feel unbelievably free.
Lastly I wish to convey the importance of loving where you live. I’m fortunate that both my husband and I truly love our home and the White Mountains. Our souls belong here and that’s one of the reasons we are so happy and content in our lives. If you don’t feel love or peace where you live, maybe you’re not where you belong. Seek places that appeal to your sense of wonder. Live where you rise everyday with a passion for your home and pride to call it that, HOME!