The coaches filled with leaf peppers are coming in fewer numbers now and yesterday’s rains condensed into snow overnight, leaving a thin frosting of white on the summer’s beleaguered grass, which crunched beneath my feet as I intruded upon the lawn to place the welcome banners, greeting as I walked the hearty visitors undaunted by the chill of a mid-October morning.

I write on Saturday in snatches between tours and time spent at the counter. Despite an ambient temperature of 41 degrees F and a driving wind at the quarry that results in a wind chill of perhaps 20 degrees or so, the walk-in traffic has been surprisingly strong today. Our scheduled tours will be ending soon; the season has passed swiftly by. My thoughts, freed from the heavy restraint of the immediacy of a rapid retail pace, now break forth forcefully upon my mind, like the bubbles that gush from a cola when its surface tension is disrupted by a popular mint candy--thoughts of all the tasks yet left undone, casualties of the fall crush, and thoughts of all the projects yet begun, projects that lay the foundation for the season yet to be.

So this is a point of transition, and as I mentally review the rapidly evaporating season, I think of all the wonderful people here with whom I work, the private jokes that arose from our common circumstance and the genuine delight of interacting with such great people who take pride in doing their jobs well and in making our visitors feel welcome. At this point I am keenly aware that knowing something in one’s head and practicing something in one’s heart are two distinctly different things. I am attempting to learn to enjoy every fleeting moment, for if you wait for only the “perfect” moments to be joyful in life, you’ve cheated yourself out of inestimable riches. Oh, how easy it is in the midst of busyness to loose sight of joy. We must each practice joy so that it becomes intrinsic to our natures that its brightness is not dimmed by pressure or pace. I am learning slowly, but I am learning. I challenge each of you who’ve yet to excel in joy, to make yourself practice it every day.

The Visitors Center will close at the end of this month, except for scheduled group visits, but our wonderful selection of gifts is but a mouse click away day or night: