The Rockford Files

Becoming Native to This Place

This fall has been especially beautiful here in Rockford.  There is some truth, however, in the old adage that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so I am not certain whether a year’s worth of rain and sun and cold nights with a moderately late first frost have all come together to provide particularly brilliant colors or whether the eyes of this beholder, somewhat less distracted than in recent years and moving more slowly, propelled by feet rather than by internal-combustion engine, have simply been more attentive and receptive.  In any case, it has been a fall to remember, in every sense of that phrase.

Fall has always been my favorite season, and not just because of the physical beauty.  It is the season that, it seems to me, most strongly evokes a sense of place.  The beauty of spring can be enjoyed anywhere, and, indeed, the enjoyment is often enhanced by a measure of novelty—new growth seems especially new when you are seeing it for the first time.  Summer—even (or, perhaps, especially) a summer spent at home—is a time of restlessness.  Winter is a time of home and hearth and family, a season shuttered against the world outside—a bourgeois season, certainly; but, to a great extent, the delights of home can be shared even by those who have little connection to the broader place in which they find themselves.

The beauty of fall is enhanced...

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