Sighs of Autumn
It began as a typo on my Blackberry, the keys are very small and my thoughts ran faster than my thumbs, a quick text to share a fleeting experience with somebody too far away right now.
I meant to say “signs”, but “sighs” fits better with the bitter-sweet feeling of
change in the season; the threshold of a new phase in the life of this year’s plants, loss and gain dancing together.
The air is crisp and cool, today, with bright, clear, sunshine and blue skies with intensely white clouds above rich green-leaved trees. At the same time it appears to me that the greens seem a little darker, as if they’ve reached some limit of greenness and have no choice left but to jump abruptly to the opposite side of the colour wheel.
Even the people here appear about to change their clothes, some walk through the cool air in short-sleeved shirts as if it were still early August (earlier this year doesn’t count, given our rainy ‘summer’). Others are already wearing warm fleeces and jackets and talking about the cold. The clothes shops are, as usual, ahead of the game in their endless struggle to get us to prepare for the next season early and give in to the sense of unease and dissatisfaction that keeps them profitable.
I love this time of year, almost as much as the early part of the Spring, perhaps it is because of the feeling of new possibilities, of a more profound set of changes beginning: green becomes gold, just as around Easter, brown-grey becomes bright green. Perhaps it is to do with the fruitfulness all around, the sense that things are ripening, reaching a point of fulfilment, achievement, the culmination of a long period of effort and construction; we often hear of a “flowering”, would it perhaps be better to speak of a “harvesting”, of creativity? I know that I have often felt that things are starting again at this time of year, in the same way as I feel this
in the Springtime. The sense that my life has within it a series of cycles, of
seasons, is strong right now.At the same time I feel a sense of loss, or maybe it’s a little less intense than that word implies, more one of moving forward and the inevitable leaving behind of some familiar landmarks; one cannot after all make progress on a journey without leaving something behind – things, places, people, beautiful views, sounds and so on.
The trick is really to learn to accept that all these things are temporary in the literal meaning of that word – existing in a certain period of time – to develop the habit of fully aware appreciation of them during that time, without trying to hold them in place as if trying to catch eels by hand (I’ve done that… it’s very difficult!).
I find myself thinking of riding waves on the sea, sitting and letting some pass, unridden, swimming for others that pass me by, finally getting the
time just right and sliding – flying, almost – along a smooth rising face of water, reaching out to touch the silky flow,then out again and waiting for the next one, the moment enjoyed and past. That wave is gone now and the next is no more than an idea in my mind, only the one under me now is real, to any extent, the rest is potential.
“The time is up / the song is over / thought I’d something more to say..” goes the song (Pink Floyd, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Time’) and here my coffee’s finished, the shadows lengthening in the street outside the cafe, new people sitting at the tables around me. Time for me too to make a move, head back home and leave behind this pleasantly busy public place for private thought. I’ll go through the park, to see the ducks and geese and late afternoon busy squirrels, beginning now to stash acorns and beech nuts for their Winter rations.
A small sigh, of contentment, a farewell to Summer green and greeting Autumn gold.
First sighs of Autumn are in the air.