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Fall Tree Foliage in Hancock

Labor Day is behind us, mid-September is upon us, and the refrain is always the same from everyone you meet: where did the summer go?

The maple tree outside our apartment window at the Inn is changing color. It is always the first tree to do so, inexplicably. We are surrounded by maple trees, the balance of which are still green. We wonder what it is with this individual outside our window that causes it to press ahead with autumn each year?

We don’t know.

I drove around a corner this week and had to hit the brakes for a school bus stopped in the middle of the road to release its passengers. I was not driving fast but realized, waiting for the children to disembark, that it had been a while (a year?) since having to brake for a school bus. The bus was traveling in the opposite direction, stopped across the road, lights flashing. I was aware of having to process, “Oh, right, I have to stop for this.”

After two years it was a joyful way to spend two minutes. Children still fall off a bus. They pile on to a bus and they fall off, or maybe spill off. None of them carefully reaches for the handlebar, steps down, gathers themselves, straightens and then walks away. They are at speed by the time they hit the ground, forward momentum propelling them to the curb where they may, at that point, pirouette – still moving, but now backwards – to wave good-bye to their comrades on the bus before crashing into a parent.

As opposed to January, the new school year and the end of summer have always felt like the genuine start of the new year. Everything begins to reboot. The children are advancing another square in life, moving into a new grade. They have new shoes and new backpacks. The business calendar is already full of appointments that have idled during the vacation season. Commuter traffic on the road has been restored closer to its full potential. Emails from local committee chairs begin, “I hope everyone had a nice summer. Now that we are back, I thought we’d try and schedule our first meeting…”

The September lull in activity around Monadnock resulting from the departure of summer visitors gives us the same sense of back-to-normal. If you own a New England country inn, you wait all off-season for the busy summer during which to welcome back a house full of guests and patrons to the restaurant. This summer, especially, after COVID-Interruptus, it was wonderful to have the Inn back to nearly full-strength.

But we are not unhappy with the quiet that comes with early September. We have our own reboot. We had coffee by ourselves one morning this week in our little library nook on the second floor looking over the back garden and, we must say, it was rather nice. We spent the day in our slippers. We sat for a while in the rockers on the front porch catching-up with neighbors moving along Main Street.

How was the summer?

It was a good summer.

Now we can look forward to fall. Wonder how the color will be after all the rain in August?

Our maple tree out back is beginning to turn.

Seems encouraging.

It is an enthusiastic tree.

Where did the summer go?

We don’t know.

Here is wishing you bountiful new beginnings and, we hope, plentiful returns to Hancock. Thank you always for visiting.

Hancock Inn porch with rocking chairs

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