Through the broad valley of the Shenandoah we drove north,  passing candle-windowed clapboard houses cradled east and west between the longest of Appalachian ridge lines.  Fall may have been at end when we left our Blue Ridge home but the lovely trees of Virginia glimmered green and gold with fields far from fallow.

Then the sense of continuity orderly Amish farms of Pennsylvania always bring. I pass them with a back-road memory: a group of girls riding old-fashioned gearless bikes, heads kerchiefed  and long pastel dresses worn over blue jeans.  How they laughingly raced pink-cheeked though the countryside. Those girls.   We all carry markers for beauty, they stay one of mine.

The possibilities of sanity inspired by those orderly farms bolsters me somewhat for the passage though the outlaying lands surrounding our northern cities: brutish, sharp and smelly.  The playful loveliness of the Amish girls seems more dream than memory on these rough roads.  All the same on we go, finally freed from urban's blight by the Hudson River.  Nestled between guardian palisades, the River in its mightiness washes the brutal, the sharp and the smelly from what I may call my soul.  Once again I understand how strongly it called to the group of painters who carry its name.

On we drove into Connecticut where season's clock has seemingly been turned back into yellow.  Yes, yellow at last!  Bright clean, clear yellows and reds are to be part of our autumn after all.  Our southern highland fall stayed medieval in its palette until the very last leaves fell. I waited and hoped but the high toned brilliance of the season was not to be this year.  Or so I thought.

All along the Merritt Parkway into the New England village of Branford glorious yellow and red covered trees marked our way to the house of waiting friends. The best of all things to find at the end of any journey. Friends.