Saturday, October 20, 2012

An October ride

Sometimes I wonder what lures me from bed on a Saturday morning, especially on a day like this.

Light rain splatters against the windows and a heavy mist envelops the house; yet in the darkness I happily slip into my jeans and sneakers, instead of suit and heels.

No matter the weather, Saturday offers an escape.

Outside, I hear the idling car, where my husband awaits. I grab my raincoat and camera, and I’m off.

Today we head from Massachusetts to the Tiverton summer house by a different route, taking the back roads through Westport and Little Compton.

The fall colors are muted in the rain, splotches of yellows and oranges stand out amidst a predominance of greenery.

No one is about as we slowly make our way along the winding, hilly roads. I admire the well-kept houses. Pumpkins and chrysanthemums sit on front steps, and fallen leaves carpet yards.

Today’s trek reminds me of the short story “An October Ride” written more than a hundred years ago by New England author Sarah Orne Jewett.

Remembering these lines, I smile as I compare her ride to ours:

“After I was once on the high road, it was not long before I found myself in another part of the town altogether,” she wrote. “It is great fun to ride about the country; one rouses a great deal of interest; there seems to be something exciting in the sight of a girl on horseback, and people who pass you in wagons turn to look after you, though they never would take the trouble if you were only walking.”

Our sleek red sports car turns onto Pond Bridge Road, and we drive into a blanket of heavy fog.

Before us are bright orange shapes hovering in the mist. Thousands of pumpkins await harvest.

Parking on the side of the road, I open the window; and like a phantom, the wet, dense air fills the space.

I can hear the Sakonnet, the loud crash of waves in the distance. Although I cannot see them, I know the rows of pumpkins point the way.   

“I wonder what I am; there is a strange self-consciousness, but I am only a part of one great existence which is called nature,” wrote Jewett. “The life in me is a bit of all life, and where I am happiest is where I find that which is next of kin to me, in friends, or trees, or hills, or seas.”

Whether on horseback or in a Corvette, it’s always worth the trip.

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