The Maples Blazed and Smouldered

Fall 2011_9330

“The long storm was followed by a north-west gale, and when it was over, the hills took on their first umber tints, the sky grew more densely blue, and the big white clouds lay against the hills like snow-banks. The first crisp maple-leaves began to spin across Miss Hatchard’s lawn, and the Virginia creeper on the Memorial splashed the white porch with scarlet. It was a golden triumphant September. Day by day the flame of the Virginia creeper spread to the hillsides in wider waves of carmine and crimson, the larches glowed like the thin yellow halo about a fire, the maples blazed and smouldered, and the black hemlocks turned to indigo against the incandescence of the forest” – Edith Wharton, Summer

My friend Kimmy had offered me as a birthday present an outing in the Eastern Townships when the fall colours would make their appearance; the idea being to go do some wine tasting, and so we set out last Wednesday morning to drive down the small roads in and around Frelighsburg. Our timing was perfect as the scenery all about us was glorious. Of course, pictures can never reproduce the feeling one has when surrounded by all those rich colours, but my camera was at the ready and we stopped often to take it all in. Kim and I share similar sensibilities and together we can just stay in one spot and marvel at the beauty before us. It’s so wonderful to be able to share those things with such a good friend. The young cows were in their pasture by the side of the road, and when I approached them, camera at the ready, they became just as curious about me. Kimmy stayed with Coco in the car, and told me afterward that he had started barking furiously, but when he saw the bovines approach, he switched to low growling instead—no doubt about it, my little stray is a city dog. We had lunch in the small town and continued on our way, again, making frequent stops, until eventually we realized we didn’t have much time left to visit vineyards. That was fine by me as I had no great impulse to discover Quebec wines, and those we did try, two whites, two reds, a rosé, then fortified wines, left much to be desired, with an acidity level that made my mouth pucker up for minutes after the initial sip. The ice wines were quite nice, but I was all too happy to leave the vino behind and bring home wonderful impressions and memories and a few snapshots so I could share some of our local natural splendours.


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