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Editor's Note: Autumn's Tendrils 

click to enlarge Maple tree, Kingston Rotary Park, October 26 - BRIAN K. MAHONEY
  • Brian K. Mahoney
  • Maple tree, Kingston Rotary Park, October 26

There's a bit of park between the dog run and the riverfront that's my favorite place in the world on fall mornings. It's an interstitial spot, a passage between two planned places. There are no ball fields, no picnic tables, no benches—just a path through what is essentially an outdoor room, ringed by maple trees whose branches form a high ceiling. When the rising sun hits the red and yellow leaves, the few thousand square feet of city park are transformed into what I want to call a cathedral, if the word cathedral didn't have the Catholic Church lurking in its transepts and naves.

And I don't mean to suggest that this little patch of earth is sacred, whatever that means. I wouldn't even say it's sacred in some goofy, nondenominational, Unitarian way. The trees are gorgeous, surely, as the sun hits them and the leaves gently shake in the light breeze. (I can't help but think of John Burroughs: "How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.") But they are what they are: merely trees, as I am a just a dude standing in a park, craning his neck upward and taking photos of trees to add to the surfeit of similar pictures on the Internet. (Remember when we used to argue over when the peak of leaf season was? Now we can tell by the trending of foliage shots on Instagram.)

I have an emotional attachment to this bit of park. Surely it has something to do with its stunning aesthetics and that it stirs the repressed sense of the sacred that dwells in my chthonic recesses. I walk through this magical pocket and I hear Billie Holliday's honeyed voice in my head singing "Stars Fell on Alabama." The sweet face of my grandmother swims into view. I am nineteen again, kicking through fallen leaves in high-top sneakers and astride the world like a colossus. Then a leaf falls into my hand, and I might laugh or cry. The feeling of something ending is always so sharp this time of year, just before the cold. It makes me want to spend all my time running to catch each falling leaf.

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Covers Show

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Uptown New Year's Eve

There's nothing else like it in the Mid-Hudson Valley: Thousands of people, dressed in holiday finery, gather on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston to ring in the New Year. There's music out in the street, multiple venues with entertainment and dancing, and an old-fashioned ball drop. Chronogram will be running a pop-up speakeasy in the elegant Senate Garage, a new venue at 6 North Front Street, across the lawn from the Senate House. The theme of the evening is Prohibition. Get out your flapper dresses ladies. Fellas, raid great-grandpa's clothes chest and grab his spats. Details and tickets available at Uptownkingstonnye.com.

  • Brian K. Mahoney ponders a favorite spot at a park near his house.

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