By Arthur H. Gunther III


On a fine spring day — and we have had just a few of those in the Northeast this year since our old-fashioned, cold, snowy winter forced us into a long season of overcoats, only to shed them faster than Grant took Richmond when unusually hot periods with Georgia-like humidity blasted into town — on a fine, rare spring day, you are young again.

There is a certain whiff of innocence in a new spring. It is a fresh start, and the successive seasons haven’t had their way yet. When I was a younger fellow, I caught this fragrance, though it is more than just  a “pleasant, sweet” scent, on a road called McNamara in what was then unincorporated Ramapo township but is now the Village of Wesley Hills, N.Y. Before the great suburban subdivisions arose on Tammy Road and Sherri Lane and Remington Way, there were more hills along McNamara, covered with winter straw that fertilized spring wildflowers. The delightful quiet as you walked in the valley of the McNamara against those fragrant hills offered any young person a life of hope, for this could be a piece of Heaven itself.

In a later season, when I began to drive in the early evening of a warmer spring day, with roll-up windows down since no one had air conditioning, that same scent continued to offer the possibility of believing in the future.

Now, many springs later, with so much change in life, in the world, on the McNamara Roads we all have known, though development may be so extensive that such byways no longer seem to be peacefully rural, though the car windows may be closed, it takes just a millisecond to recall what was and a moment to stop the car, take a short walk and note yet another fine spring on a road that still leads to Heaven.

The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached at ahgunther@yahoo.com This essay may be reproduced.