October 3, 2020: Thousands of Firebombs Going Off in the Hills

Halloween Die-ary #14

October 6, 2020 — I rarely feel more at peace than when I’m behind the wheel with my loved ones, a screen full of oddity carefully mapped out on my phone, and miles of roadway ahead of us. Unless those loved ones are complaining and fighting each other and kicking the back of my seat.

So Lindsey and I edged the odds on our latest day trip and dropped the two older kids at my in-law’s house and took the toddler, which seemed appropriates since she shares a middle name with the season. We were a three-person family again, like it was so long ago.

On Saturday, we drove ten hours of New Hampshire and Vermont, through creepy fog and smatterings of rain, gray skies and bursts of sunshine, through miles and miles of foliage like thousands of firebombs going off in the hills.

Normally, when I’m reporting back to you on our Fall road trips, I focus on the oddity we saw on the way. And we saw some cool stuff—a grave shaped like a clothespin, a ghost town on a picturesque brook, the possible final resting place of the man who wrote Nosferatu, the village that Washington Irving considered the most beautiful place in the U.S. and Europe, and a couple of atmospheric graveyards. It was a lot of atmospheric graveyards, honestly. And maybe I’ll get to writing about all those sites at some point for OTIS (quick plug—I’ve already written about them in the latest OTIS Club Newsletter).

But this time, I’m going to stick with Lindsey’s photos (and one or two selfies from me). She’s an amazing photographer who should be doing bigger things with her work than getting it uploaded to places like OTIS,  but she really nailed the day. This was what it was like, traveling through a different world, air as sweet as candy corn and as crisp as apples, happily anticipating the next turn of dirt road and bright flash of graveyard pumpkin.

We even eventually achieved foliage-blindness. Too much beauty numbs the eyeballs like those proparacaine drops you get for Lasik, and we get our eyeballs filled to the top. The last two hours of the trip, the home stretch, wasn’t through as magical a world as when we started out, it was just our world. But that was really nice, too. Even after picking up the seat kickers.