It is a year since I last visited the writing cabin of Edwin Way Teale on a Saturday morning in late October. The companion with whom I had traveled to the writer’s two-hundred-year-old farm in northwest Connecticut took this picture of me without my knowing.
“A landscape now wholly autumnal,” to use words from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s journal. The words are quoted by Lawrence Raab in his own poem “Hawthorne on His Way Home.” I have written about Raab’s poem more than once in this blog over the years.
It is a landscape in keeping with the man walking down the road. It is a landscape in keeping with a man walking away from a part of his history.
The winter that would follow this solemn autumn afternoon might benefit from a steady companion, but it might just as well be faced alone, standing outside the familiar comforts, snow falling.
I know now that I was frightened this time last year. I was a man sixty years old and in a month I would turn sixty-one. It may not seem a big difference in age, but for someone who had just spent months getting used to his fifties’ being over, the approach of sixty-one was a definitive move into the new decade.
I am much less frightened after the year that has passed.