Autumn creek, Center Ossipee, NH (from 2013).
Autumn creek, Center Ossipee, NH (from 2013).

Things are still about 80 percent green here. That’s changing in a hurry, though. I took this photo when we flew out here last October, which means we’re about due for the leaves to turn. Color will sweep across the mountains—then God only knows what’ll happen in the months that follow. I haven’t experienced a true winter since the late ’70s, and I know it’s going to land on me with both feet. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts little snow in New England but bitter cold. Forecasters, on the other hand, say El Nino will bring relative warmth but several feet of snow. The Almanac’s is the version the locals keep bringing up. Thanks, guys.

The cold hangs like a spectre over everything here. Last winter’s road sand collects in asphalt cracks and coats the sidewalks. Take a shortcut behind a cafe on your way to work, and you’ll come across three snowplow blades, stacked against each other in the shadows. When the natives tell you a story about the wind and the ice, they always smile and shake their heads. You feel the cold when they do that, even on the hottest, muggiest day of the year.

It was 25 °F this morning. I’m told that when the leaves get that first “snap,” they turn in a hurry. The trees are changing color in the hills behind the school—a yellow sapling here, a red branch there. Next week, they say, everything turns at once.


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