I wouldn't know—I usually go to the Northlands in September, to visit my buddy Rick's place in the UP, though looking at Tony's photos, taken around his cabin in Oneida County, Wisconsin, it made me consider, not for the first time, relocating in that vicinity permanently. I'd have to give up my job, of course, but I'm approaching that point, now still a spot on the horizon. A buck goes a long way up there.
"It's 36 degrees," Tony writes. "Got a fire going, feet up, and an easy to read book. Retirement is a good thing."
No doubt. In Canto 27, Dante has Guido da Montefeltro recount that, when he gave the false advice that consigned him to hell, he had come to that part of life when it is time to calar le vele e raccoglier le sarte — “lower the sails and coil the rope.”
"What a beautiful metaphor!" agrees 14th century Bolognese scholar Benvenuto da Imola, in his early commentary on The Inferno. "The mariner, who has been on a long voyage, must steer for a safe harbor where me may find rest."
He's talking about eternal salvation, not Lake Superior. And that isn't the only view on the subject of how a man should grapple with age. There is of course Yeats, who cuts the other way.
"An aged man is but a paltry thing," he writes. "A tattered coat upon a stick, unless/
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing."
That sounds more my style. Clap hands as long as you can. Besides, I need the money.
That is perhaps too weighty a reflection to hang on the delicate beauty of these photos. Plus I quoted those lines of Dante's in late August; repeating myself, another ominous sign. But these leaves should be the focus today. The words are just little black decorations to go beside them. Thanks Tony for sending these gorgeous pictures.