The autumn is glorious this year, and once again the brilliant display of change sweeps over me. Driving the roads of Jefferson this past week I experienced my hometown through the eyes of a visitor, my friend, Evelyn, who arrived to see the fall colors just in time, flying in from Montana.
Evelyn had never been to the Atlantic coast to see the leaves turn red, orange, and gold. We took every opportunity to explore the countryside while she was here. Mother Nature did not disappoint, for we surveyed and photographed everything to our heart’s content.
It grew rainy and cold and we were not deterred from our mission. Evelyn snapped pictures of the Jefferson cattle pound and Damariscotta Lake, all churches in town, and Jefferson Village School. Having grown up on a farm in South Dakota, Evelyn was interested in the old barns, the stonewall fences, and the hay meadows as well.
Needless to say, It was ever so pleasant to show her beautiful Jefferson. Evelyn has a penchant for anything drenched in history. She liked hearing about my ancestors who helped settle this area after the Revolutionary War. She captured on camera the classic Maine farmsteads, the colonial houses, and the shingled cottages that spoke to her of the past.
Evelyn wanted photos of the hydrangeas that she noticed were pruned to look like trees in the oldest garden landscapes around town. We found several in yards and cemeteries. Now as I drive around Jefferson, long after her plane has lifted into the air taking her home, I am still looking (and finding) the stately hydrangea trees. The old plantings are so pleasing to the eye.
Wanting a project to include Evelyn in, I convinced my brother to let me borrow two old wagon wheels from our family farm over on Route 32. One of the days I had to work, Evelyn created a beautiful autumn display for our yard. I came home from work to see her knack for creating beauty everywhere she goes.
The winds of change may be blowing, now that the ides of October have come and gone, yet my memories of sharing this beautiful place with Evelyn remain, giving a touch of gold to my day. To be reminded that those who went before us were also concerned with enhancing their homes has cemented something in place for me.
Call it a steady sense of place, of the shelter found in the cycle of the seasons or a deep connection to the past. Call it what you will — it is for me a haven for my heart when life turns wintry, as life surely will. If you are out and about this lovely autumn, perhaps you will also find solace in what was once crafted and worked with human hands and heart: an abundance of beauty that was set in place centuries ago — still blooming.