Fall and All, The Peak

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The apples are all getting tinted
In the cool light of autumn

—John Ashbery (from The Skaters)

Right now, the Hudson Valley is awash in apples and winter squash, and the blaze of color is nearing its peak on the hills.

Indoors, exuberant discussions about the New York poets are underway at ModPo on subjects like “Living on the Margin” in Ginsberg’s Howl and John Ashbery and the Chapter 8 poets; “The Sublime Simplicity of Reality” O’Hara’s A Step Away From Them; and “Even these dreams in similar people’s heads,” about a poem by Barbara Guest.

At the music course, the staff have reached out and made a number of adjustments, including addition of some helpful listening aids. There’s been an entertaining discussion about the coughing epidemic at concert halls and a raging debate about where in the Mozart assignment the second theme starts that I’m not even sure I want to comprehend.

While I continue in the vain effort to keep up with this, here is a sampling of the continuing fall season and a bit of music for anyone who happens by.

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Listening List:

Piano Works of Leoš Janáček

On Spotify

On YouTube: Leoš Janáček – On the Overgrown Path – Book I (1 of 4)

Click here, here, and here, for parts 2-4.

The photographs, taken by me, are of Innisfree Garden and Buttercup Farm.

20 thoughts on “Fall and All, The Peak

  1. Steve Schwartzman

    Your mention of “Howl” reminds me of 1968 and 1969, the two years I spent in the Peace Corps teaching mathematics in Honduras. It was quite a change for a suburban/urban kid from New York, and I felt cut off from most of the cultural things that interested me. At one point I wrote to City Lights Books in San Francisco, explaining that I was in the Peace Corps and enclosing a check made out in lempiras, the Honduran monetary unit, to order a bunch of poetry books published by City Lights. To my surprise, the company dealt with that strange check and mailed me the books. I still have my copies of Howl and Gasoline (by Gregory Corso), but I can’t remember what other books I ordered or what became of them.

    I also have memories (and some photographs) of a real changing of the leaves in the Northeast, something I haven’t seen in person since the early 1970s. Enjoy your colors while you can, for old Time is still a-flying.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Steve: Ah, that Ferlinghetti, what a guy! (For I want to assume it’s his ethos that didn’t flinch at your lempiras.) And you are so right about the fall colors. It’s past peak here now, and the trees will soon be bare of leaves (except of course the oaks, which hold on to at least some leaves until spring).

  2. Nadia Ghent

    Funny how the coughing epidemic in concert halls seems to be a constant preoccupation. I remember once waiting for my mother to be finished with her American Symphony Orchestra rehearsal on Saturday mornings at Carnegie Hall in the Stokowski years–she was principal viola for a while, I had my violin lesson down the street, and we would rendez-vous at Carnegie and take the subway home together), and someone coughed in the audience (rehearsals were famously open to the public). Stoki stopped the orchestra, turned around, glaring from the podium and screamed, “Stop that!” At the concerts later that week, small packets of cough drops were inserted into the programs, and I remember my glee in collecting them the following Saturday from the left-over pile. I don’t know if the rustling sound of the packets being opened was any less intrusive to the maestro than the actual coughing, though!

    Beautiful photos to accompany the wonderful music! Bravo!

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Nadia: I love this story–and I think you’re right that the rustling of cough drop wrappers just exchanges one problem for another. (Kurt Masur tried the cough drop gambit, too, though I don’t think to much success.) I was just thinking the other day how fun it would be one day to hear you play violin live. May I hope?

      So glad you enjoyed fall and all!

  3. George Mattingly

    Thanks for this perfectly-put meditation on the season, Sue. And the great photos, which are a wonderful reminder of the east I once knew. (As the saying goes, I remember my childhood as if it were 50 years ago. . . .)

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      George: How nice to “see” you here! I didn’t know you had ever been lived all the way east. It is a beautiful season here, fall, I’d say the best. (I, too, remember my childhood as if it were 50 years ago . . . for me, in the Midwest.)

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark: It is, as I seem to be repeatedly remarking here, the best of our seasons–and this year has been particularly good. (Though a lady in the grocery store noted that it was “all yellow,” whereas other seasons there’d been a lot of red!)

  4. angela

    firstly, loving Janáček ~ secondly, some of these shots are simply poetic – love the blown milkweed pod (or that is what I think it is) and there is one that I cannot explain, but it reminds me a bit of a Japanese garden that is simply marvelous! As you know, the Midwest does well with color, but we do not have the hills or rock quite like that…sigh, my legs (and the pup’s) wish to roam… thank you for sharing ~ a

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Angela: Isn’t that Janáček nice? I was introduced to the piano works only recently, via a concert up at Bard. Dawn Upshaw’s accompanist, Gilbert Kalish, played some of these pieces and said, after the concert, that there were lots more. He was so right.

      Yes, a milkweed pod is what you were seeing–they really posed for me this year! I know what you mean about the Midwest, with a wide-open beauty of its own, to be sure–but I, too, love the rock outcroppings and hills here, ridge after rolling ridge loaded with deciduous trees.

  5. David N

    Especially evocative the gingko (?) leaves, the insect on what Angela identifies, I think, as the milk weed pod and the flat-bottom clouds, which remind me of the far north (they accompanied us in Iceland).

    Had a New York friend to lunch last weekend. He and his wife are looking for a place in the Hudson Valley – it was he and I who stood in the porch at Olanna while a summer storm raged – and I hymned the praises of Innisfree, pointing him Prufrockwards. He hadn’t heard of the garden.

    Well, we are off to second mycological expedition in Wakehurst Place, Kew’s country cousin. Horrifying wind and rain, as my godson put it when he was six, waking us up in Scotland, forecast but we’ve just had two days of true Autumn light.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: They look like gingko leaves to me, too, though I don’t recall seeing that coloration. Alas, now, Innisfree is closed until May. I wish the garden would stay open a little longer, but I suppose it’s a long way in and a lot of maintenance (it’s a private garden, open to the public, so no public funds). So pleased you were able to share the “good news” about this garden with your friend. It really is one of the wonders of the area, and beyond. Enjoy your second mycological expedition. I hope the weather was passable for it, and I look forward to your report!

  6. T.

    We don’t have fall where I live, but it is my favourite season. I suppose it is one of those things where I can say that yes, I can love something even if I haven’t truly known it. Even if it doesn’t exist on my side of the world.

    Those lines from The Skaters reminded me of a poem by Pound (which is actually by Li Po; Pound translated it): “The paired butterflies are already yellow with August”.

    Ah, how nice to be here. To just sit, in this space, and look at your photos, and listen to music. I was reading Stein last night. She wrote: “I love it and I tell it. I love it and now I will write it.” (from The Making of Americans). This is one such moment.

    Thanks, Sue.


    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      T.: Thank you so much for that lovely poem. Though from what I know, Pound never translated faithfully, whatever he did, it’s beautiful on its own, isn’t it? And that you found “this space” a nice place to be pleases me immensely, too.

  7. Britta

    Dear Sue,
    thank you for those lovely photos of autumn – a season that makes my heart sing, for who can see these showers of golden leaves, firy red and copper flames without bursting with happiness! I always think of the lines of “Fülle/ Abundance” of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer: “Genug ist nicht genug! Gepriesen werde der Herbst” (might translate it soon, come to think of it — I like “Enough is not enough – praised be the autumn” (very (!) roughly translated).

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Britta: It’s been a beautiful fall season, though now ebbing away, and what you see here is the last of Innisfree, for it is closed now until May. The lines you quote are perfect for the season, too.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Bente: And you definitely know from farms! I’ve been enjoying your photographs of Norway in autumn, as I hope you know. Isn’t it great to be able to share our autumns across the globe?

  8. shoreacres

    It’s such a delight to dally here with no envy whatsoever. I had a good fill of fall color in my travels, and made the quite astonishing discovery that trees aren’t alone in celebrating the season. Prairie grasses, too, put on their finery and transform from green to purple and rust, red, orange, white and gold. Your music is a good accompaniment for them, too.

    You’re right about the rocks, and the charm it adds to a landscape. On the other hand, even the minimal hills – and not so minimal! – I saw in Arkansas and the stunning colored canyons of the Panhandle have given me memories enough for a winter.

    Now, if we only could have some snow!

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: You’re so right that it’s not just the trees. I love the subtle changes in the grasses you describe in our fall, too. (I see you have a new post up that gives us some views from your trip, and I look forward to getting over there, soon.)

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