I think autumn is a wonderful season. The harshness of the summer sun is fading but it still has a little strength yet. It is rising later now and, after a noticeably shorter journey across a sky full of ballooning rain clouds, the darkness soon returns. This period of daylight punctuates the increasing gloom. The mornings and evenings may be cooler but the days can surprise with a burst of warmth that, even now, entices out the occasional bee or butterfly and dragonflies still hunt but with a little less vigour. The energy that so fiercely and urgently powered these little creatures is now all but spent. Autumn is a time when the earth slips in to a kind of comfortable drowsiness, it is quietening down and moving towards the deep sleep of winter. The sun casts a mellow light, it no longer bleaches the scene as it had at its height in summer and the earth is wrapped in a golden glow. Persistent greens are fading and now offered is a pallet of raw umber, burnt sienna and yellow ochre. Russets, auburn, and bronze dominate. Yellows, too numerous to be labelled, radiate in this tawny, twilight quarter of the year. The abundant fruits of the season are being harvested and offer a reminder and the promise that, after a brief period of rest, the earth will awaken again in the spring, full brimming with potent fertility.
Nature can be a wise teacher if we allow ourselves the time and space to connect with her, so as the autumn slips towards winter I believe we should find a few quite moments to slow down, to move away from the incessant busyness that dominates our often over active lives. We need to rest too, just for the shortest while, drinking in the languid, soporific draft that she offers, unwind and take stock.
Being a lover of the written word I was going to offer one of my poems and work it around some of my artwork. But then I heard on TV the following poem ‘ To Autumn’ by John Keats. It is way, way above anything that I could ever hope to compose and is so beautiful I had to include it here instead of my ramblings. I have still included my artwork which may not quite work with the verse but I had to get the Norfolk theme (and a little bit of Suffolk) in there some how!
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-- While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.