Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn here today, gone tomorrow and back again

Nearly two weeks ago, during the Columbus Day holiday break for New Englanders, Susie and I gassed up the Mini (not much bother there) and headed west to the Catskills. The plan was to see our friends Don and Gloria in Prattsville, NY. The weather not only cooperated but added to the pleasure of the drive by providing an incredibly gorgeous sky under which to motor.

We drove the Mass Turnpike to near Lenox, MA of Tanglewood fame and then spent the next couple of hours cruising the back-roads in the Berkshires. We drove through Stockbridge (Normal Rockwell country), and soon found ourselves passing into the Empire State on route 23, heading to Prattsville. It wasn't long before we crossed I-87 (the New York Thruway as its fondly called here) and quickly began our climb into the much-revered Catskill Mountains, passing every so close to the village of Catskill itself.

A few minutes after passing through the artsy village of Windham we found our turn at County Road no. 4, just short of Prattsville itself and were soon at our destination -- a slice of heaven in upstate New York.

We spent a beautiful evening with friends not seen for far too long -- enjoying a wonderful meal by the wood stove, a bottle of good wine and even better conversation; life doesn't get much better than that.

The sky was clear and the night air filled with a silent cold as we turned in -- although a quick step out onto the back deck let us foolish urban dwellers see the stars for the first time probably since we were in Colorado a year ago this August. A treat to be sure.

No sooner had we returned to the Ocean State Monday than the weather turned raw, temps fell dramatically through the succeeding week and the rain came in sheets last weekend. And snow was seen in New England, as close as southern Massachusetts.

But once again Nature had the laugh on us -- Indian summer returned with warm days, and sparkling blue skies. I have the evidence to prove it from a recent stroll along the Providence River:

It's along this same stretch of river that you can also find the touching and very poignant Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial:

Not to forget, though, some Rhode Islanders need things made perfectly clear:

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