Fall marks the beginning of an end of a seasonal cycle. The name itself conjures up the image of leaves dropping from their home, the trees. Although I currently live in Southern California, I was raised in New Jersey where seasons are much more clearly differentiated than where I presently reside. Toward the end of this past October, my wife and I had been invited to the wedding of my roommate from college who lives in the Boston area. Because I knew we were going to be in Boston, I contacted my two female cousins, the daughters of my mother’s younger sister and only sibling, both of whom live in Lee, Massachusetts where they grew up. The elder of the two, Marcia, cordially invited us to stay at her house.
Lee is on the Western side of Massachusetts, about 130 miles from Boston. The surrounding trees covered with their multicolored leaves created a panoramic view of a majestic autumn.
It is not like my wife had never seen fall foliage before, as my sister-in-law, Gudrun, had driven us through upstate New York on a fall day a few years earlier. But when your environment does not provide the climate necessary to accommodate the annual falling of leaves from their trees, such a sight can be breathtaking. As we drove across Massachusetts, the setting sun surrounded by multicolored leaves lessened any annoyances either of us had due to traffic jams marking the beginning of the weekend.
The highlight of the visit was when Jane, Marcia’s younger sister, drove us to Williamstown to visit the Clark Art Institute. While Jane drove us through the Berkshires, Lisa and I appreciated the splendor of a New England fall in the Berkshires. Massachusetts, is not only home to Harvard and Radcliffe, but also to several small very prestigious colleges one of which is Williams College. Upon arriving at Williamstown, my cousins took us to a most pleasant lunch café prior to heading over to the Clark. There we briefly chatted with a husband and wife, both wearing sweatshirts bearing the name of Williams College. They told us they had met at Williams. When I kiddingly inquired whether Amherst was a better school than Williams, they replied in unison “no,” declaring they had an excellent education with the good fortune of meeting one another there.
The Clark has a huge collection of European and American paintings along with sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs. Lisa and I are both fans of Impressionism of which there were many pieces. Neither of us were terribly familiar with Winslow Homer but there were ample works of his that caught our eye. The natural feel one gets from beholding his landscapes of the Maine seacoast provides one with a distinct sense of his American background. As we departed from the museum, we walked out to a beautiful sunset veiled by the glow of russet and golden leaves. Coming from California, it was a delicious moment standing there among the trees, in such a peaceful and calm ambience, visiting with cousins I rarely get a chance to see.