Autumn is well and truly here with its cold calm evenings and its morning mists, and the trees, oh, the trees put on their best dresses for the occasion. I relish the abundance of colour and the wide variety of leaves; each one a work of art on its own and as a whole they shimmer on the landscape. We walk by, lost in our own thoughts over this riot of colour which prettys our roads, just more mess to clean up.
But for me this is the best season. The razzmatazz of summer is now well and truly over and we can settle into the slow golden afternoons. Even the misty evening rains bring me thoughts of romance of my days as a young man walking with a girl, my heart bursting with pride and joy, my face cool in the the rain mist. This is my peace time, the time when all work is done and I settle into my cocoon. Winter with its freeze and snow and bitter showers will come and swirl us all into that maelstrom called Christmas. But that is still a few weeks away and so let us enjoy this time. The profit makers will insist on beckoning Christmas earlier and earlier every year but let them heave and haul and get hernia in the effort. Let us be calm and hold on to the silence. The eruption will come in due time and then we let go and flow with the compulsory gift-giving and compulsory eating and compulsory drinking and compulsory copulation. This is the time to save energy, revitalize ourselves read, wallow in the bath, light candles, take walks in the fresh evening air and to be nice to our friends.
This is why Autumn is so precious to me: the colours, the calm, the silence like a balm; and how I wish I could dance the tango!
And yet, autumn brings with it a note of pathos adding to the beauty of it all; that precious note that all is transient. Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem to a young girl called “Spring and Fall” captures the pathos thus:
“Margaret, are you grieving Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; And yet you wíll weep and know why. ” Now no matter, child, the name Sorrow’s springs are the same. Nor mouth had, no nor mind,expressed What heart heard of, ghost guessed: It is the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for”.
I set out to quote a couple of lines from that poem but it is such a short poem and such a pretty one, I had to write it here in full. Yes, the phrase “goldengrove unleaving” has been mooched on by critics and poets alike. For me the phrase brings back memories tinged with some sadness but it is the sadness of one who is cocooned in blankets and is driven in a coach and horses through the park. Well, we can all dream. Don’t let the profit makers rob you of your dreams!
Live well and keep that smile on!