Harbinger of Change

My weekly newspaper column:


Autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)


  “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant

 Autumn. Fall. A new season is upon us. It is a magical time of year and envelopes the end of summer with two seemingly opposed celebrations: Thanksgiving and Halloween. But I am getting ahead of myself here—there will be time for both of these festivities—juxtaposed as they are in the coming month.

            We still have a few days left of September where two seasons meet—one fades away as another takes the reigns. The changing of seasons reminds us of the passage of time. I try not to wish away time anymore which I suppose comes from knowing I have fewer years ahead of me than behind. There is certain wisdom in this, but also a determination that the best is yet to come. Not because wonderful things have not happened in the past, but that is the past, it is the present that should be paid attention to, paving a way toward a future, uncertain though it may be.

            I have been patient to this point, not bringing out too much of my fall décor until it was officially fall, but now all bets are off. Never mind that I have had my fall wreath on the front door for several weeks, or have changed up some of the candles to fall plums and pumpkin, or have an ornamental pumpkin sitting on my coffee table. And yes, just last week I gathered a few pinecones from beneath a tree at the park and have them nestled in a wooden box. Unbridled,  I will bring out my collection of pumpkins, my silk autumn leaves (okay they are not silk but suffice to say they are not plastic), and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam of autumn I keep boxed up waiting for this glorious time of year. {I often reflect how now I use the words glorious and lovely and other words of gush that at one time I would not have gone near with a ten foot pole—dare I say that entering the early (early—did I stress early?) fall of my life I am less reserved, more liable to effusiveness? }



Fall PEEC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I find that I am not the only one enamoured with the fall. In a way, I find others loving my favourite season a bit intrusive, making it no longer mine. But over the years I have learned to share, and in that sharing learned to appreciate it even more. I remember as a student, walking along the sidewalk to school, shuffling along in the leaves that had fallen; and looking around to see that no one was watching, then kicking them up, creating a mini-furor of colour. There is nothing better than walking through fallen leaves in the fall, the sound of the crisp crush under footfall.

            I will share a few quotes I found that speak to me of autumn, that share my fervour for the season that precedes winter. Perhaps my favourite is this one from nature loving author and journalist, Hal Borland: “Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and colour and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.”       

            Writer George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) declared, “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Lavish in her ardour for fall, I can quote the dear lady freely and feel that I will never attain her ebullience (in other words using “lovely” and “glorious” will still in no way put me in the same poetically lyrical class as this great writer).

            Rebel philosopher, Albert Camus said that “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is in flower.” And Samuel Butler declared something in the same vein saying, “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruit.” Elizabeth Lawrence is a lady after my own heart—she believes that “Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” I can only imagine the patience this would take if one took her advice literally.

            I hope you have enjoyed our autumn journey, and if you were not a fan before—perhaps I have persuaded you at least a little to join me in the celebration of this new loveliest and glorious of seasons. (yes, my tongue is wedged firmly in cheek here).