I’ve always looooooved autumn.
The smells. The colors. The cool, brisk air.
It reminds me of marching band and my favorite moments being a percussionist.
It reminds me of hiking and the many great places I’ve visited and photographed.
It reminds me of farm trips and cooking and discovering apple-pork chili and pumpkin mac n’ cheese recipes from the stuff I picked up along the adventures.
It reminds me of my wedding and our first experiences as a couple, here in town when we made our mini-moon here.
Now, two years later, living in the literal shadows of Washington Irving’s estate along the pictureque Hudson River means the Headless Horseman’s holiday takes on entirely new meaning. I wouldn’t call it something I’d dreamed of when I was a kid. But, conceptually it ticks off sooooooo many boxes on my “why this speaks to my soul” kind of thing.
In our first year into our howeownership adventure up here we didn’t have very much opportunity to be able to take advantage of what the town and the region present to us. We were overwhelmed. We recovered our back yard from being a refuse patch and thatch forest and even that wasn’t enough to control the leave cover we then had to move from the top of the property down for collection. When I say the piles were inhuman, even the neighborhood kids didn’t want to play in our faux mountainside.
We learned the price of autumnal beauty. We learned we needed my back muscle. We learned we need power tools.
I didn’t get to shoot nearly as much as I had for the past. Previously, I would hike 15 to 20 miles a weekend in the past I was lucky if I managed fifteen in all of autumn and it meant going from hundreds of pictures to only a handful. The biggest disappointment was I was looking forward to trailblazing with Dex and the most we got was long walks around the Lakes (we both loved it, in the same way we used to make weekend runs around JKOCP).
I’m totally good with it to a point. We have conservatively speaking 20 trees on or immediately adjacent to the property so every window offers a fantastic view. We overlook protected land and are a block from the lakes so there’s that. And, for me, I still walk the mile down the hill to the train station daily so I can not only enjoy our side of the river view but also take in the sights across the river to the curling skyline of the upper Palisades.
Where I actually compromise with my wife on what we get to do is in encapsulating the whole spirit of the holiday. It’s to the point where the only “decoration” we have is a very ornate spider web in a prominent window in the house that despite mother nature’s best attempts (and my wife’s regular requests) is still up. I don’t really blame her, she’s not much for decorating no matter the holiday.
In our years living together in the UES we never once put up a holiday tree. Or decorative lights. Or even a few knicknacks. Or even a pine scented candle. It was my ‘junk collecting’ desire to hold onto my old apartment’s decorations, my grandfather’s Lionel train set, to pick up odds and ends from family members that gave us our first December decorations last year. We did little since until my sister-in-laws were awesome enough to create a situation where we have this awesome pumpkin stack light fixture. Oh, and I bought Dex a headless hessian costume to wear around town for our walks. It is absolutely priceless.
I love dressing up. I do have some strong opinions of it having challenged a lot of ideas. I challenged a lot of expectations in my costumes: being a woman for many years, being rock stars outside of their popularity eras like Johnny Cash, Chris Cornell and Neil Peart as well as most recently a run of Primus characters including Alowishus Devadander Abercrombie, that’s long for Mud, so I’ve been told. I have some decent ideas for a short use version this year, to be told, so I’ve heard…
When the mass of cells brewing in her belly pops out a functional human being (through some miracle) I cannot wait to debut the next version of the Primus theme John the Fisherman, where the kid is the fish and I run around in borrowed waders and a surf casting rig I have set aside just for the job and even a task for Dex to fit into a song related role.
I am absolutely positive I will catch shit for this idea — even if my wife sanctions it everyone else will believe they have purchased us the best possible costume (it’s not a Caps uniform, um no… ;)) I have a whole short theme to get us through the first few years while they are finding their own style that will also make use for given the opportunity. The reality is the kid is going to come up with their own persona and it is imperative for us to encapsulate that into what we do with them and who we become as characters – be that the people around them day to day or the people who are there for those extra special occasions. Unlike Dex who I can dress up and will tolerate it because it means he can prance outside which is his first love, putting kids into costumes is insanely different.
This year, as we lead up to it, I am most looking forward to at least finally enjoying the adventure with my wife for the experience of autumn in a place I could only imagine autumn being this awesome in my dreams. Seriously, every day I walk to the train there are elementary school made ghosts hanging from overhead and scarecrows wrapped along every pole, faux cobwebs and cornhusks at each corner and other fun stuff. The restaurants make specialty dishes, the brews and cocktails are far from the cliche you find of apple twist, pumpkin spice and ginger bread.