“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…”
~ from “To Autumn” by John Keats
I’m in love with Autumn, as anyone who reads my blog can probably tell. I also love Romantic Age poetry, and Keats always seems to grasp the essence of what he writes about, whether it be a Grecian urn, or autumn, as above.
Around this time every year, I find myself regularly catching my breath at some new and gorgeous sight, like this bank of trees lining the road north.
I’ve always noticed and appreciated the splendor of autumn where I live, but this year I’m trying to slow down to take stock of it even more. Sometimes it’s an effort to be mindful in the face of my usual worrying, planning, and brewing.
But for some reason, the colors, moods, and textures of autumn help me to do that more easily than other seasons. It’s like Nature is putting on one, final, gorgeous show before the chilly north wind sweeps in, and the monochromatic ice, snow, and leafless trees take over the landscape.
In the meantime, I’m astounded by the vistas all around me, wherever I drive. I’m sure it helps that while I live in a small city, there is plenty of countryside around me, similar to where I grew up, and the school where I teach is a rural one that allows me to see countless beautiful scenes along the way to and from work. Take a look at these pictures with the varied and to me, at least, breathtaking skies; they almost seem like paintings, they’re so vivid and perfect:
Sometimes I look around me as I’m driving and feel a little selfish for having such lush beauty to enjoy; the realization that so many in the world look out at landscapes far more bleak or violent and war-torn is never far from my thoughts. Since there is no resolving that understanding, I do my best to be grateful and aware.
Of course, in addition to all the colors of upstate NY autumn, there are some darker, “moody” landscapes as well, like this picture of a kind of swampy area on my way to work. Once in a while I’ll see a few big, dark birds winging through the bare-branched trees.
Sometimes the contrast comes from the sight of dark, billowing clouds in the sky just above a glowing patch of trees decked out in reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. But even these moments are welcome and inspire all sorts of creative thoughts and reflections.
Mostly, though, this season fills me with a sense of awe.
The colors and transitions make me slow down and appreciate what’s all around me, while reminding me to take stock of what matters. To pay attention to the cycles of life in my own little world. Every life has its sunrise, its seasons, and its sunset.
I don’t want to miss the experience of any of my seasons by looking too far ahead or worrying too much. It’s up to me to enjoy the here and now in all its incarnations – and in autumn that experience has its own vibrant flair, that I wouldn’t trade for all the sun-soaked beaches or palm trees in the world. 🙂