By Barbara Mellon
Another summer has passed, and fall is on its way. Signs of this change are all around us. In Andes, you immediately notice the changes along Delaware Avenue and Main Street. The pool is closed for the season; no more brightly colored towels wrapped around shivering children being hustled across Route 28 on their way home. The lifeguards have hung up their whistles and gone off to autumn responsibilities.
The center of activity has moved to the big old school building next door. Classes are again in session, yellow school buses are coming and going, the parking lot is full, and kids are everywhere. You can see kindergarteners being escorted across the street for classes in the tech building and hear the joyful sounds of boys and girls romping on the sports fields in the back. Don’t try running in to Hogan’s for a quick cup of coffee or a slice of pizza at noon time – high school students, with the privilege of going “over town” for lunch, crowd the place, ensuring you’ll need to wait a bit longer to be served.
With the advent of autumn, tourist traffic in Andes begins to slow. Some of the businesses in the hamlet react to this by changing their hours or even closing for the season. A sign in the window of Blink Gallery brings home the reality that summer is over. “Reopening May 26” it reads. Where do the days go? Before long the Thrift Shop in the old Fire Hall will close its doors until spring, too.
It’s harvest time. Hillsides are rich with acres of swaying cornstalks. Once the sweet corn has all been brought in, the drying stalks will become much-sought-after fall decorations. Fields and gardens produce all manner of fruits and vegetables, which can be found for sale at the roadside stands that pop up all over at this time of year. These seasonal markets range from the simple to the elaborate, all using the “honor system” to handle purchases.
Tree-laden mountains are just beginning to exhibit bits of red and gold amongst the green, and brilliantly hued goldenrod now rules the roadsides. The smell of autumn is in the air, carried by moist, chilly breezes. It’s a time of preparation. Bears are stuffing themselves to guarantee nourishment during their winter hibernations, and squirrels are collecting acorns to hold them over until the spring, while in kitchens all over the area local produce is being dried, frozen, canned and stored for use when fresh foodstuffs are not so easy to come by.
There’s a twinge of sadness as summer draws to a close, no doubt a vestige of the childhood misery at vacation’s end. But autumn in Andes offers its own brand of joy; all you need do is take the time to experience the wonderful sights and sounds it bestows upon us. ~