Hastings County in technicolour

The maples along Queensborough Road looking west at Cedar School Road. These are some of the trees that my father used to tap to make maple syrup in the springtimes of my childhood.

When I was a young student at the University of Toronto about a million years ago – okay, it was the late ’70s – I would sometimes take the proverbial Toronto-Havelock commuter train (immortalized in many Globe and Mail columns by the late great Scott Young, Neil‘s dad) home for the weekend. (My family was by then living in Campbellford, Ont., not far from the train’s stops in Havelock and Norwood.) I can still remember how, as I would look out the window at the countryside getting greener and more pastoral the further east the train chugged from concrete-grey downtown Toronto where I lived, it would feel like my eyes were being bathed and refreshed.

The view of the Black River looking northwest from the old bridge that crosses it on Bosley Road south of Queensborough.

This is the plaque on that same bridge, helpfully explaining who at the township of Elzevir was responsible (way back in 1923) for it being there. So many old bridges in rural areas have been replaced by characterless new ones; I hope the municipal powers that be leave this one alone.

I sometimes get that feeling again these days when Raymond and I travel from downtown Montreal to Queensborough. And this past Thanksgiving weekend was particularly good because the fall colours were at their peak. Because of this past summer’s drought, most people had been expecting the colours to be underwhelming. But exactly the opposite happened: the colour in the leaves was brighter and bolder than it has been for many years. What a joy it was to be on a drive around the Queensborough/Tweed/Madoc area last Saturday morning, on a mission to pick up a Thanksgiving turkey from the Hunt farm on Countryman Road outside Tweed and do sundry other errands. I kept pulling the car off to the side of the road to get out and take photos. Would that I were a far, far better photographer! I’ve always been nul at it, as they say in France. But despite my lack of talent I think you can still see how pretty the Queensborough countryside was last weekend.

After the rain: the sun seemed to have chosen the two brightly coloured maple trees at the centre of this photo to shine directly on, and they positively glowed in the late-afternoon light.

This last photo is an ever-so-slightly more urban scene: the view from the front porch of the Manse (in the heart of downtown Queensborough) after a rainfall last Saturday afternoon. The bright-gold trees standing out against the still-dark sky were absolutely gorgeous.

At the Manse, we have a front-row seat to the scenery.

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