The seasons have changed, and right on time, the temperatures drop, the leaves on trees begin to change color and start to Autumn. The wild geese fly in close formation as they head south for their winter homes, and the skies turn bright with their Maxfield Parrish colored canvases hanging over the ocean, bay, mountains, and valleys. Life bursts into full color and bloom, and the gardens begin to need tending for their wintering. Time to plant tulip bulbs that will brighten our spring days next year. Time to clear out the gutters on our roof tops, and begin to harvest the squash, apples, and autumn pears. Writes, artists, photographers, musicians, and all creative people are inspired and affected by Autumn. Here are some of their thoughts on the season that has no uninterested observers.
In Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gable’s books, she writes,
“I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” This week as October begins, I feel the same way. What is it about October that makes life feel so brand new and special? When I said to a group of students, “October is my favorite month”, one person replied, “Oh, you must love Halloween.” Actually hadn’t thought of Halloween, though that can be fun. Halloween can also become too much, somewhat like the other holidays that get marketed and hyped. October and Autumn are special for other reasons.
Artist and musician, Yoko Ono wrote,
“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.”
October is a time of the year when we revere life, honoring the beauty of the land, the changing of the seasons clad in their full glory, and the inner call to return home to ourselves. We seek quieter, calmer, more meditative ways of living, working, and moving about.
Ranier Maria Rilke, wrote that “At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.”
Rilke, born in Prague, Czech Republic in 1875 wrote both poetry and highly lyrical prose. Some of his most well-known works include: Letters to a Young Poet and Sonnets to Orpheus. Rilke is considered a transitional poet, whose works found voice and style between the traditional and modern poets of his time. Of his own work, Sonnets of Orpheus, Rilke wrote, ‘[the poetry in Sonnets of Orpheus were] perhaps the most mysterious in the way they came up and entrusted themselves to me, the most enigmatic dictation I have ever held through and achieved; the whole first part was written down in a single breathless act of obedience, between the 2nd and 5th of February, without one word being doubtful or having to be changed."
From Ray Bradbury:
“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”
From Jane Austen’s, Persuasion:
“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn--that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness--that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
Robert Frost. We usually think of Robert Frost as the consummate New England poet. He did live and write in New England, but was born in San Francisco. He lived in New Hampshire on a farm, and then moved his family to England. In 1915, he moved back to the U.S., and lived in New Hampshire and then Vermont. He remains one of our greatest poets. I recall going to New England to live for the first time, and feeling his poetry coming alive all around me. For the first time, living in the harsh New England winter, I knew what inspired him to write. :
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
From Stephen King:
“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
From William Cullen Bryant:
“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.”
From John Donne:
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
Writer, Mary Anne (Marian) Evans, whose pen name was George Eliot, wrote the following lines:
“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.”
From Nora Ephrom:
“Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
Ephrom’s thoughts capture what many of us feel in Autumn; the reconnection with those past memories, patterns, and habits that come up from out of nowhere to urge us to ‘get ready’. Get ready for the changes coming. Get ready for the new things you’ll have to learn now. Get ready for what lies ahead, for Autumn always promises to bring change into every area of our lives.