Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Mellow Fruitfulness

We have a long Autumn here. In fact, apart from the leaves slowly turning brown and falling from the trees (and the most abundant trees are coniferous in any case), it's more a long tail of summer. It's still warm and sunny most days and will probably stay that way until the beginning of November.

The atmosphere is always strange at this time of year. Everyone is back at work. The rhythm of life long ago returned to normal in the city and the holidays are a distant memory, but it's still uncomfortably warm to be working and the mind is flooded, unbidden, with images of beaches, open country, quiet, cold beer and a total absence of telephones and alarm clocks. Only when it starts to get cooler and clouder in mid-November does the mind truly resign itslef to the task of working its way through the winter.

Meanwhile there are the weekends, and the rucksack, and the country. There are the birds and the water they live on, and the fishermen who spend their days immobile, immersed in silence, and the breeze that moves the leaves and the grass and the surface of the water and the stray wisps of hair on the people who pass, and the paths that link all this together, and the greatness of the world that contains them and the way it feels to be lost out there somewhere in the middle of it all.

The way you knows is Autumn here is that you can walk around or sit out at midday without burning your flesh in five minutes, and, although there are few leaves, there is a carpet of acorns, and groups of pickers harvesting the grapes. The cycle of the seasons is different here, but it still changes, and it's good that it does. Except that by the time Winter arrives, I'm already thinking of Spring.

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