Please forgive me if I seem a little too excited for the end of summer and the start of fall. I know, many of you are sadly putting summer vacations, evening cookouts with family and friends, warmth—a bit excessive this summer—and your gardens in the rearview mirror. Some of you may even be in a state of regret that you didn’t check everything off on your summer bucket list. I share these feelings too.
But, I am also ever so happy to see fall materialize from summer’s haze. First, my youngest is off to college! So proud of her, and her brother, and miss her every day. However, this fall will not include a pile of school forms, endless breakfasts cooked, and lunches managed. Nor will it include disturbing the sleep of a teenager who has slept through her alarm or any of the other duties (read: conflicts) of teen management.
She and her brother are off creating lives for themselves. They are armed with years of me doing my best to share the wisdom of the ages—that they outwardly seemed to ignore—and a solid set of oftentimes challenging life experiences. They have the will and tenacity to slay whatever dragons come their way. Right? (Call for help from one or both kids in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .).
Second, I love autumn in Northern New England. As a younger man, I moved around the country looking for my place in the world. Each time I moved from here to there only to return here because there didn’t have anything close to autumn.
When Gertrude Stein said of Oakland “There’s no there there,” she meant her sense of homeness was no longer there. I could say the same of the places I lived. Without autumn, there’s no there there.
So, as I go back to walking the world without kids in tow, I am free knowing they are off building their futures. And I am free to experience all that I love of autumn, especially the sensation of cool air entering my lungs as I run my favorite trail through the woods.
With all of that in mind, this issue seeks to offer a bit of something for everyone. For us trail-runners, Mark Aiken takes us on his Presidential Traverse. Susan Nye shares her thoughts on the perfect fall weekend. We bid a sad but fond adieu to one of the state’s greatest writers, Donald Hall. And Caitlin Andrews and Elizabeth Frantz let us know that yes, we can survive a digital detox.
I hope you enjoy.
james buchanan, editor