Breathing Ink and Ilex

I see all these bloggers posting about how it is autumn in their part of the world. A lot of us live in the States, so I've been wondering anxiously, "When will it get to be our turn for autumn here?" Well, I think our time has finally come. Our weather between seasons is fickle and unstable, and changes as I might try to change gears on a stick-shift. But I think, as October rolls in (where did the year go!) it is finally autumn. I lay awake the other night thinking about the upcoming months: apple-picking, birthdays (so many birthdays) involving food and cake and presents and people getting together and laughing, Thanksgiving dinner, the onset of really cold weather and Christmas... (Most of my family's celebrations centre around eating food. It's the Sicilian in us, I suppose.) Nearly twenty-one autumns, each one like amber and held up to the light, lie in my memory, and I took them out as I lay awake the other night to look at them, and they are so very beautiful. They are full of romping in the short crisp grass, playing in the leaves, taking walks down windy roads, eating and talking and laughing with my family, arriving at the church Thanksgiving dinner in the suit of Roman armour my husband made for me... It's a crazy, blowy, amber-coloured time. And here I am at last, standing on the brink of one more autumn.

I sat the other day on my parents' patio, soaking in the late sunlight and autumn wind, reading Knight's Fee, and I could sympathize with Randal's feelings of strange homecoming as he arrived for the first time at Dean. Autumn always feels a little like homecoming to me, and at the same time as though home is a long way off. Maybe it is the Sabbath-feeling, that the whole part of my world has come to the twilight of the year to rest, and that's what makes me think of home. The dogwoods are changing into their best garnet colours; the hollies are putting out their little scarlet berries and the crows are screaming over them. Everything is so beautiful, so varied, so jewel-like. The leaves are all dying on the trees; it's strange that death can look so lovely as that, blood-coloured and fierce. I wonder if there is a moral somewhere in that.

"Pray that thy last days, and last works, may be the best; and that when thou comest to die, thou mayest have nothing else to do but die."
Vavasor Powell

Flowers are pretty in spring, and green is a fine colour, but nothing compares to the last burst of show the trees put on in autumn. They quite outdo themselves. Soon the maples will be turning, and the gumball tree, and the pecans will be littering the driveway with little banana-peel leaves, and I'll be able to sit in the heart of all that colour, reading and writing (because these things are done best in autumn) underneath all that surf-sound of wind in the trees, cleaning out my veins with the cleanness of autumn.

7 ripostes:

  1. We've had the warmest October, so far, that England has ever seen. After a chilly Summer, it's like our late heatwave we were never even promised.
    I like Autumn, too. S'pecially when the mornings are all hazey, and the canopy sinks into a lovely mantle of swollen conkers and ruddy twigs. And the way that the leaves lisp and break into little shards of amberstone when you tread on them.
    Over here, it's the season where we can start toasting crumpets, and dusting off the hot water bottles!

  2. Ah, Knight's Fee... I love that book. And your autumnal descriptions.
    Autumn is indeed like a homecoming; it's like after you've been outdoors playing all day, to come in to a warm cup of cider while the trees alight with all the warmth of a hearth fire. I suppose that means cold, dark winter is night, when all you want to do is snuggle deeper into your nest of a bed.


  3. Yay for Autumn! There's something so special about each season, and I think you've very well captured the warm, crisp, home feeling of Fall in this post. It's lovely for reading, and finding your mind slowing after the craziness of summer activity.

  4. Despite the fact that autumn signals the End of Baseball and the return of the Dread Cold, it still holds its own unique charms, like: pumpkin beer (Dogfish Head Punkinhead!), college football (Georgia Tech is 5-0!), and playoff baseball (the Braves are gonna.... well, poop).

    Actually, now that I think about it, February can't get here soon enough.

  5. Spring is supposed to be invigorating - new life rising like a phoenix from the dead of Winter. But for me it is Autumn that invigorates. Spring is warmth after cold - sluggishness anticipating the immobilizing heat of Summer. Fall, on the other hand, is the cold splash of water on the flushed face, bracing one for the day. That's the order: Autumn, Winter, Spring...and Summer does not even make the list.

  6. We seem to have jumped to winter here... But if the past years are any indication, it'll roll back to a proper autumn soon. Despite the lack of central heat in our new house, you're making me look forward to it. :-)

    Speaking of writing- I do try not to be impatient, but I've not really heard from you since... July, I think. Do write soon. Please?

  7. Autumn and Winter. Those are the seasons where stories weave their spells best: through grey days of windy walks and quiet brooding, and at the end of all the trodding lie promises of hot tea in the morning and coffee in the afternoons over endless piles of books...

    Bother! Now you've got me all excited while Autumn still plays coy here, only peering out from behind corners between dusk and dawn. But the day's warmth is more of spring than summer, so I try to buckle down and not be too terribly impatient. (Impossible. I have been ready for Fall ever since May, and I'm so full of impatience I shall probably explode. Ah well - maybe the force of that will knock a few leaves off these trees.)