Autumn In The Air

I stepped out on the porch this evening around 8:00 and couldn’t help but feel the change in the weather. It was only 8:00, but already starting to show signs of darkness, and the air had a little chill to it, the kind that says you need a jacket if you plan to stay out for long.

I have to admit, as a cottager, I’m not crazy about this time of year. With the Labour Day Weekend coming this weekend here in Canada, it reminds me of things like going back to school, the end of summer and so on. I’ve alway found the fall season a little lonely, and I think I know why. As a youth, I had a girlfriend who’s parents had a cottage across the cove from ours. I was in love with that girl from the time I was about 14 to well…who knows maybe I still am a little….But each Labour Day weekend would be a tough time for us, as we knew that we would be going our separate ways the following week. She didn’t live close to me in the city, so we knew that we wouldn’t see much of each other until the following year. There is truth to the old saying that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ as I found out each fall….but now I am just being silly…geez…that was some 35 years ago…

Of course it really doesn’t have to be like that. There are still lots of weekends left to get to the cottage before it’s too cold. But it’s still there, that nagging idea that eventually, no matter how much I put it off, the wharf has to come out of the lake, and the water pump drained for winter.

Autumn is a nice time for the camp, but, it’s colder, it gets darker earlier, and it is no longer shorts and bikini weather. Now is the time for working around the place, tilling the garden, repairing those loose roof shingles, painting the deck. The endlessly long days of summer become the shorter days of fall. Of course with that comes the ‘splendor of autumn leaves’ and the beautiful colors that the hardwood forests here in the Northeast start to display.

But…the Fall has it’s advantages. The place starts to become a little more ‘remote’ again. The summer cottagers are gone. People aren’t around as often, and it’s quite possible to be the only one on our cottage road. I like that from time to time. Not because I am doing anything criminal, or that I don’t like my neighbors, but the idea that no one else is around is kind of relaxing.

It always strikes me funny how lots of people will mention ‘solitude’ as one of the reasons why they want a cottage or camp in the woods. But when they get there, solitude is the furthest thing from their minds. Between parties, and stereos on the deck, tearing around on four wheelers, or speeding up and down the lake on jet skis, solitude is in short supply in summer cottage country.

It’s human nature I guess, to move to the country, and try to make it as much like the city as possible. And as more and more city folks move to the country, it is becoming more like the city. Just drive through a country road and look at the satellite dishes and swimming pools, or the BMW convertible parked where once was an old Ford pickup. The other thing I’ve noticed lately is the number of vehicles heading to the city from the country on weekends. While we are breaking speed limits to get to the country on Saturday morning, the country residents are heading to the city. I wonder why that is?

We’ve become so accustomed to our creature comforts and luxuries, that roughing it is only left for a select few. Not that I am one of them. Oh no, I like my comforts and entertainment at the camp as much as the next fellow. But I do like a reminder now and then of the invigorating, relaxing and stimulating effect of solitude, and peace and quiet.

The coming Fall season means that it will be possible once again to sit on the shore of the lake and not see a boat. The deer will start to make infrequent trips through the yard, checking out whatever is left in the garden and the apples on my neighbor’s tree. With any luck I will see a flock of ducks flying over, or even a few geese heading for the open water of the ocean and when I shut the lights off at night and look out the window, the lake beside us will be dark, with no spotlights peeking through the trees from the cottage across the cove.

Oh by the way, the girl I mentioned above….she eventually married and moved to another province, but her folks still have a place close to the cottage, and every year when she comes home to visit them, she drops in to see me. I missed her visit this year, but she left me a note saying she had been over to visit, sorry she missed us…I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder….

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