The air outside has that clear, crisp quality about it and the leaves are beginning show the first flecks of orange, gold and scarlet. I’m reminded of the quote from The Great Gatsby. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.”
It’s my favorite season. It reminds me of hikes in the woods, of cooking apples with my mom, of reading on a chilly night while anticipating the beginning of a new school year. And I can’t quite quiet that voice inside of me that wants to do some back-to-school reading.
This past weekend I was out in New York and a friend and I drove past Sunnyside, which was the home of American writer Washington Irving. You can see it here on a perfect Fall day.
This gothic home, perched on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, was where the author lived, in the town where he set perhaps his most famous work: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
This is such a fun read – regardless of your age. It begins with a rivalry between the gluttonous school teacher, Ichabod Crane, and his swarthy, bullish rival, Brom van Brunt, as both men jockey for the affection of the beautiful heiress, Katrina Van Tassel. The story describes the Hudson River area, the social lives of its early Dutch inhabitants, and both men’s motives in wooing the young Katrina. Things get exciting when an evening at a merry, wine-soaked ball leads to a macabre midnight showdown and a visit from the petrifying menace of Sleepy Hollow legend: the Headless Horseman. I won’t ruin the ending, but I will say that still, to this day, I remember how frightened I was the first time I read Irving’s tale.
As we move toward shorter days and chilly October nights, nothing really says Halloween to me like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. So, that’s what I plan to re-read this month. Do you have any schooltime favorites that you might re-visit this Fall?