The weather has taken a turn. It’s cool today. Autumn is blowing through the leaves the the Azure maple tree in the front yard. Although the landscape is still green it feels different looking out at the neighborhood.
As I sit here watching the children get off the bus and walking up the hill to their homes, I drift back to an Autumn long ago in Catskill, New York. We lived and taught in Catskill our first year of marriage.
Fall in upstate New York was spectacular. We experienced it with bravado. The Hudson River Valley School of painting was founded in the area in the middle years of the Nineteenth Century by Thomas Cole.
Our morning drive to work followed the Hudson River for eight miles Glimpses of the mountain that rose sharply, a palisade, five miles to the West would flash in our sleepy eyes. Over the hill, past the bridge across the Hudson, we’d dip into the village and drive past Cedar Grove, Thomas Cole’s home. We’d cross Kaaterskill Creek and onto Catskill Senior High School.
In early October, the vivid reds and oranges, brilliant chrome yellows seemed to have painted the cloves and peaks of the Catskill Mountains. That’s how I remember it, maybe because the colors were so strong and rich. The colors have emblazoned themselves on my mind.
To get a sense of the colors we experienced the Hudson River Valley, visit Fredrick Church’s painting, “Autumn” at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Church was a student of Thomas Cole. Each time I see the painting it brings me back to that special Autumn in 1967. The remembering is always more meaningful in Autumn.