Fall Musings

It’s officially fall.

I guess I’m partially “basic”: I love anything pumpkin, pumpkin spice, whathaveyou.

Sorrynotsorry, it just tastes really good.

And you know it’s no longer summer when I officially break out my scarves and sweaters. I think I’ve written about this before, but although I hate the cold (“detest” is actually a more apt term), I do love the fall and the splendor of the patchwork quilt the hills become due to the myriad vibrantly colored leaves. The foliage is really beautiful, and honestly, I can understand why so many travel to places such as upstate New York and Vermont to view the foliage – it really is a sight to be seen, especially if we had a particularly generous amount of rain.

The green verdure slowly dissipates and fades into deep reds and yellows, which languish for a while and lull us into a colorful, dream-like state – I feel as though the color stage is sort of like a purgatory, the part when the foliage turns from deep greens (life), to bright colors, and then to brown (death). And then comes a “rebirth,” so to speak, of vegetation in the spring, which is quite miraculous in itself. How do the trees die and come back to life? Why can’t humans do this? Why is our meaning of life different from other organisms? Is there a true meaning of life? Is questioning the meaning of life the meaning of life??

Maybe I’m digressing a bit, as usual, but in any case, fall is resplendent in many ways. It’s difficult to put into words what it’s actually like for those who live in climates that don’t have the type of season change that we have here in the Northeast. It is almost hypnotic, in a way, driving down a wooded road and just watching the bright colors from the looming trees whiz by, starkly contrasted against the gray sky.

I guess, now that I’m thinking about it, the vegetation doesn’t really die but rather falls dormant. Well, the leaves die, but the trees don’t. And obviously, there’s a huge difference between death and just being dormant. I feel as though I can launch into a huge existential soliloquy about that, as well, but, maybe sometime soon I’ll make a post about existentialism and my personal take on the whole thing.

In any case, back to the point of this post: fall. My favorite holiday is Halloween, I guess partially because you get to be someone for a night who you actually aren’t – sometimes a departure from who you really are is just the remedy for monotony. Also, I love the suspense of scary movies, the cozy feeling of  pumpkin coffee, the warm and inviting scent of spices, the comfort of a thick blanket enveloping you, making you feel protected. And of course, how can we forget candles. I love candles. I love building my pillow fort on the corner of my bed against my soft-orange wall and lighting my pine-scented candles before perusing my Netflix queue for something to captivate/entertain me and whisk me away to a fake reality.

During the summer, I feel obligated to go outside when it’s beautiful and hot out, though I may not want do. During the fall and winter, the curtain drops, and the charade ends. But, I do, at the same time, love long fall walks, kicking up the leaves as I go and looking up at the cotton-ball clouds and they meander through the atmosphere, the leaves contrasted against the steel-gray sky. It’s invigorating, and almost paradoxically, I feel like it breathes new life into you. Although the leaves are “dying” for the cold months, the crisp air instills a certain, hard-to-put-your-finger-on peppiness into you as you stroll the streets, reviving you, in a sense.

I just recalled that I bought an anthology of Edgar Allen Poe’s works one fall, as, obviously, he’s arguably the most fitting poet for the impending macabre holiday. For another post, I certainly plan on writing about at least one of his poems, but I also remember reading a couple of his works for a lit class in college – I’m really hoping I still have my notes, but if not, maybe some of what I wrote about will come back to me. In any case, you best believe Poe will be getting a mention.

One of my friends and I are adamant about embarking on a fall checklist adventure we swore up and down we would complete. Activities include a hike, a scenic drive, and obviously pumpkin-related things. We will complete this checklist.

There is one thing that we make it a point to do each year, though: a haunted hayride. Jones Tree Farm up in Shelton, CT has one every year – and because my aunt and uncle live right down the street, I’ve been going since I was really little. I was terrified when I was younger. I remember one year, one of the workers actually gave me a flashlight to bring with me on the hayride to flash at the monsters. I spent the entire ride buried in my uncle’s lap, petrified to look up for a second. After having grown up, and realizing that the so-called “monsters” are just high school kids, the fear has faded out, and now, it’s more of a fun holiday thing to do rather than something that scares the living crap out of me each year. My uncle and cousins actually worked there as “monsters,” which is another reason we always went. It’s great – they always decorate to the hilt and have music blasting: the barrage of orange and purple lights, the strobe lighting and eery fake webbing on the fences and trees, the old 1950s car with a skeleton draped over the hood – it really puts you in the holiday spirit, and you’re there with a bunch of people who love it just as much as you do.

They have built this hayride into a full-blown “experience” over the years. They have a huge fence, beyond which the line for the hayride extends down a dirt path between the overarching, scraggly trees lining the dark, wooded street, dropping dried-up leaves on you as you move along, and the almost pitch-black sea of evergreens to the right (the actual tree farm). Last year, down the path a ways, they had a little hut at which you could buy drinks and snacks, which was a great idea considering the line was extremely long, going to show how awesome this hayride has become. Some tall, white birch trees line another section of the pathway, and you could see brighter lights father down, indicating you’re getting closer to where you actually get on the tractor and embark on your “terrifying” journey. I always laugh, though, because at one point, the tractor makes its way through the parking lot, and one year, we drove right by our car.

For those reading this who may want to check it out, I won’t give too much away,  but I will say that they do something different each year. They build new buildings; add more smoke, strobe lights, and other effects; and hang various nefarious objects from the trees designed to scare or, if you don’t scare like me (now), at least set the tone for the “haunted” nature of the ride.

I will say this, the thing that is actually kind of unnerving about this is that it is literally right in the tree farm. The main area is obsconded by trees once you wind farther down the path, and there are some sections completely devoid of noises or lights. I mean, you’re literally in the woods. This particular area of Shelton is pretty heavily wooded, at least for my taste, and the road this hayride is located on runs through a couple of hilly areas with rows of Christmas trees – all planted and maintained by the Joneses. My aunt’s house sits right in the middle of a couple of tree farm areas, so it’s pretty desolate. There are neighborhoods and houses, but they’re all surrounded by woods and trees.

Also, the winding road adjacent to which this farm is situated intersects with one particular street believed to be the residence of the Melon Heads – Sawmill City. The main hayride area is literally at the corner of the main road and Sawmill City, and the walking trail – a fairly new addition to the haunted festivities at the Joneses’ – literally cuts through the Melon Head woods. In fact, they dubbed the trail “Melon Head’s Revenge” as an homage to the peculiar urban legend.

Now, for those who don’t know who/what the Melon Heads are, they are basically believed to be a race of inbred humanoids that exist in those woods and terrorize and/or kill people. They are said to distract drivers going down that road and make them crash their cars, after which they subsequently abscond with them into the dead of night and do God knows what with them.

I’m not saying that I believe this, but I’m also not saying I’d go down that road, especially at night. I have, actually, once with one of my cousins. It is incredibly eery. The road actually turns into dirt at one point. You’re driving through a thicket of trees, so dense on one side that you could barely see through the intertwining branches and tree trunks, standing tall toward the sky like soldiers, and then it opens up on one side to a lake. Actually, there are houses on that road, so a little farther down, it isn’t as bad, but it’s definitely an unsettling drive. My cousin and I stopped the car and turned the headlights off for a brief moment to experience the depth of the pitch-blackness, and pitch-blackness it be. God forbid you ever break down in the dead of night on that road.

The darkness is almost palpable, something you could feel. It envelops everything, and you feel as though you’ve disappeared.

Honestly, nothing would happen. An urban legend is just that – a legend. But still, it’s creepy, and I don’t play well with the woods.

So, in summation, definitely check this place out if you’re looking for something Halloween-ish to do. I love October and Halloween, so this is perfect for me and anyone like me.

I guess this post sort of evolved into a general, miscellaneous rambling. I wasn’t sure, at the onset, whether I wanted to place this in “Travel” (because I originally figured I may write about somewhere specific I like to go in the fall) or “Food” (because I thought maybe, instead, I’d expound on the myriad fall food items I love to indulge in this time of year) – but, through all of that, and through me just continuing to write, I ended up, like a lost wayfarer wandering through a wooded forest, somewhere I had not anticipated. And it turned out to be nowhere specific.

Thus, this goes in “Miscellaneous.”

I feel like this post was more stream-of-consciousness than anything else – like the leaves departing from the trees, one by one, my ideas just fell onto the page.
So if you made it this far, know I appreciate you enduring the tedious task of muddling through my fall musings.


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