Just like that, the October weather flipped from summer to fall. Oops! And then flipped back to summer for the start of November. The Topsmead docent team, led by Jenny Riggs, wasn’t complaining though. The weather was perfect for their picnic and end-of-the-season debrief of their 2022 summer/fall season of conducting house tours through the first and second floors of Miss Edith’s cottage.
Despite the warm weather, nature’s colors are appropriate for November. Naked trees stretch and straggle their boughs, black against the sky, just perfect for post-Halloween spookiness. Rusty brown leaves are the only foliage left clinging to those boughs. This season makes walking on Topsmead’s forest trails a mixed blessing. The upside is that, without the cover of leaves, seeing into the secrets of the forest is easier. On the other hand, walking those trails in November means scuffling through a carpet of fallen leaves that sometimes obscures the serious root systems that writhe across the trail and seek to trip unsuspecting walkers.
Taking the seasonal challenges into consideration, a walkabout through the woods and past the upper pond on the Edith M. Chase Ecology Trail is definitely a worthy choice. Not only does the trail take you through a less visited corner of Topsmead, but it also awakens your intellect with its guided trail map and numbered stops at notable natural points along the way.
Flash-back: As November invited in the winter season, Miss Chase and her companions, Mary and Lucy Burrell, would prepare to leave their beloved Topsmead and return to Waterbury. The house staff worked on the closing up of the cottage. The farm staff transitioned from the season of harvesting to the season of surviving the winter winds and plunging temperatures atop the height of Jefferson Hill.
But the coming winter wasn’t what chased Miss Edith back to Waterbury. Election Day was coming, and, as Topsmead historian Jerry Geci says, Miss Edith was absolutely punctual about returning to Waterbury every November in time to do her civic duty and vote. She considered it a responsibility to vote, regardless of whether it was for local, state, or federal offices. They were all important.
Flash-forward: This November, the 2022 elections are midterms. It is not a Presidential election year, but there are local and state elections, federal races, and some referendums. So, on Tuesday, November 8, be sure to do your civic duty: educate yourself about the ballot choices and vote. Then wear your “I voted” sticker with pride, and treat yourself to a walkabout at Topsmead, all the while knowing that Miss Edith would be proud of you.