The dying of the light

Have you ever loved something with great intensity, whilst all the while wishing you could change just one thing about it? Of course you have. That’s how I am with Autumn. I have a strong emotional connection to this time of year, from the earliest signs of its approach with those first morning mists at the end of August, which send a shudder of relief through my whole frame. But barely at the mid point of September, and it’s already dark before eight, getting earlier each day. I could do without that.

And so, in the face of the enveloping gloom, I thought I’d remind myself of all that I love about the season to come. 

I love that, once this September corner has been turned, I can happily be found working in the garden on the brightest of days, without fearing the merciless summer’s heat. I love the gentle slowing down of the growth rate, the chance for the gardener to catch up and take stock. I love the fullness of the borders, still the armfuls of dahlias, cheerful cosmos, remontant roses coming round again for another flush, others with hips swelling and blushing attractively. I love the crunch of cobnuts underfoot in the coppice, the early morning dew and the garden garlanded with spiders’ silk. I love fat apples and luxuriant pears, the promise of stewed fruit and crumbles (and the fulfilment of that promise). And soon the leaves will colour, and then slip to the ground, and the naked trees will be laid bear in all their bashful beauty. And pumpkins, and squashes, and rich warming soups. And bonfires. And splitting wood for kindling. And the crack of the logs in the stove, and the playful light of the fire that brightens the dark evenings with its dance. But not the dark evenings themselves, with the shortening of the days.

Maybe it’s that one thing I would change, but can’t – the very thing that defies my influence – that maintains my ardour for autumn. For I fear I am fickle – that a too perfect collection of attributes would bore me in time; that I’d grow to take my blessings for granted and look on them with disdain. I need something to rage against to feel...what? Useful? Alive? To me, Autumn’s about as good as it gets, save the dying of the light. And that’s good enough for me.