Come autumn – which by the way is in the air in green mountain country for clusters of trees, large and small, have started turning shades of rust and gold – and Vermont shall be aflame with brilliant oranges, golds and vermillion that should make the mouth hang open in sheer surprise. Here I go by my reaction, yours can be more muted or elegant depending upon your personality. I am also going by the photos I have seen of that colour-drenched landscape so far, yet I can imagine, and imagination is the bedrock of true pleasure. Those trees laden with colour and promises of what is to come showed up in fits and starts as we wound up and down, turned corners and crawled around the countryside in Vermont in our car. It was cold, around 12-14ºC, and we were shivering in the late evenings because a jacket can do only so much for you in mountainous climes.
When the seasons change everything seems to fall in place so effortlessly. It is amazing how our moods are tempered by the advent of beauteous spring and autumn. That hint of softness in the sunshine, the trees responding in their own ways, wearing leaves or shedding them by and by, the pleasant nip in the air, … it is just the time for hatching plans.
We made plans too. For the trip. Three days and two nights are not a lot but one whole day at your command? You know what difference it can make. But what do you know, ‘the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men’ will go ‘aft agley’, so with precision ours went awry. Plans of hiking and making acquaintances with the boys of the forest fell through spectacularly. The second day of the trip, designated as hiking day, turned out to be trapped-in-a-washing-machine kind of a day. We were caught inside our car, and it came down relentlessly, that rain. We ran in and out of country stores in the small villages to soak up the warmth of cafes and antiques.
The mountains however showed up in that avataar which you can admire if you have a romantic buried deep inside you. Mist curling along the ridges of the smoky green hills, trails of it floating along the middle, rivers rippling with water that looked steely cold, the solitary man fly fishing in those waters in the dark grey evening, …it was like we had been whisked into another world.
Then we tasted the land. In generous lashings of maple syrup upon buttermilk pancakes, the fluffiest and best I have had in a long time at American diners which specialise in breakfasts. I could see why everyone in the diners and cafes were larger than life. They appreciate the goodness of pancakes and maple syrup laden with vanilla cream and butter. It came back to me then, Javon’s ultimatum, that I would slowly grow thicker around the edges. One day I would wake up and see a big reflection in the mirror. Thus it was that I got to impose a measure of self-control.
Now we have come back home with treasures from maple country. A bottle of maple syrup that is so flavourful that I can vouch for it with every fibre in my being, a small cookbook that doles out recipes on how to bake and cook maple-laden goodies, books acquired off shelves of antique stores, preserves and chilli butters and gourmet crackers and it seems just right that we are home now. To take a break from a weekend of going berserk and to plan more such weekends.