Just the mention of the words “cider doughnuts” invokes visions of “that festival season when nature is all aglow”: red and gold leaves on a bright autumn day, colorful marsh grasses and apple trees heavy with the lovely red fruit we look forward to as summer fades each year.

New England is mecca for lovers of all things apple, and those sweet-tart confections bathed in sugar or left “bare,” are one of the best treats ever created. Mouths water all over New England come late September, in anticipation of the tasty round delights. Grocery stores begin to display them in their bakeries. Orchards and produce stands draw locals and tourists alike with promises of homemade cider doughnuts. Church fairs and village autumn-fests are magnets for seekers of that seductive first bite.

Now, to be honest, there are some cider doughnuts that don’t quite measure up. Some are too soft. Others are too dry. Many are packaged in such a way that they lose that slight crunchiness the best ones have along the inner and outer crusts of the doughnut. Connoisseurs will insist that a cider doughnut is not really a cider doughnut unless it is fresh out of the fryer, still slightly warm if possible, having just a bit of a crisp edge rimming the cakey interior.

Autumn is, indeed, a magical time of year in throughout the northeastern United States. Folks in other parts of the country will attempt to tout this season as just as colorful, just as breathtaking, as ours. We know differently, however. The truth is that there is just no display of red, gold yellow and orange that can measure up to autumn in our part of the country.

Add the wondrous display of flocks of Canada geese against a clear, blue sky and the amazing taste of a fresh cider doughnut and, well … You know what I mean.

The Rev. Charlotte Hendee