Thursday, September 2, 2010

Almost at Labor Day

Where did the summer go? Here I am in the upper Hudson Valley, having enjoyed driving through Cold Spring and Fishkill and Rhinebeck and Red Hook yesterday and perhaps venturing over to the Columbia County Fair today (Dutchess County Fair ended Sunday). Not quite the desire to press upstate to the great NY State Fair at Syracuse or even the last day or two of flat racing at the Spa. Somehow managed to get on the beach this week at Quogue, which was terrific despite the powerful undertow generated by one incipient hurricane or another.

Friends have been nice enough to host us on these stops and we observe Poor Richard's limit of three days. There have also been a succession of weddings, family and friends both, and a quick trip or two for each of us--even a three-dayer last week to Huntsville, Alabama, which was a court assessment.

There's a wonderful feeling of late August, just before the start of what the late Alistair Cooke called the real American New Year. Wildflowers are still in full bloom but there's a tree or two already turning on the Taconic. I've managed to not lose control totally, thanks in part to all the seafood that still dominates menus in coastal places this time of year. And last week we made it down to Cantler's near Annapolis for crabs for the first time this season.

My rhapsody gets going in foolish directions, such as my continuing enchantment with driving two-lane New York country roads, marked or unmarked. Little things bring me out of the reverie -- like seeing the profile picture of FDR as you enter Hyde Park and notice that the outline shot includes the cigarette holder censored at the FDR Memorial in DC.

As always, it somehow remains an effort for the two of us to break away for a few days. There's always something hanging over our heads to be finished. Yet if I didn't get back to some of these favorite places--the ocean, the crab joints on the rivers or creeks or inlets near Annapolis, the New York countryside--I'd feel that I'd missed the whole summer.

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