September days have a special luminousness like no other month's. The long-slanting late summer light imparts a certain glow to every object. High clear skies seem a richer blue. The air is crisp and focused, not the lazy splat of high summer humidity. Some September days become pure magic and instantly memorable just for their September-ness.
That's how I felt on our Sunday apple-picking trip to Cortland Hill Orchard on Bonnyvale Road in Brattleboro. I don't think I'll ever forget the look of the quiet orchard at the top of the hill, each tree bright and solid against the amazing deep blue sky, each branch from crown to ground clustered with powdery red Cortland apples, perfect picking for any sized person--even the very littlest. For only seven dollars we brought home half a peck of red-cheeked Cortlands, pretty much the best apple I have ever tasted. (It helps that we picked them ourselves on a perfect day, that adds an extra taste you can never find at the stand or the store.)