Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
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Article ID: 15923
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: October 24th. 2015
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I am very much a child of Autumn, As a child, even in the later years, this was a time of fun for during school we had a mile walk to the old manor house that formed the biology, pottery and art block… that walk around the school sports fields and into the woods so vibrant in spring with bluebells and primroses, to the fullness of summer, autumn became that amazing time of changing colour of conkers to be collected to be pickled or baked, the great piles of leaves blown hither and thither, to be jumped in and irreverently stuffed down others’ clothes (‘being co-ed this caused us loads of trouble’) .
This morning, I gaze out of the window between writing and sipping tea. The ivy is growing strong and green over my outside altar space the leaves on the trees in our garden tuning to reds, golds and browns almost before my eyes.
The sky is overcast, the drizzle seems relentless, with the light struggling to break the hold of darkness, as our resident fox prowls around the bird table looking up expectantly before moving on and disappearing through a gap in the hedge.
Just as quickly, the clouds hold on the morning is broken. Some shafts of light break through illuminating the scene with early morning sunlight sparkling on the rain soaked branches, illuminated, every leaf translucent a moving living fountain of red, gold and brown stained glass, against the low grey sky.
The fox passes once again, pauses looks up, poised its ears and nose twitching, it hunches down again head low, and passes back into the shadows as it slinks away.
The clouds close up and death slips in, with the wind, the dead among us rustle like dying leaves. The apples cry out to be harvested and the cold months beckon, towards that time when the thinning veil and shifting worlds, that turn just ever so slowly and loom up from the dark, renting the very fabric of our world they gape like an open wound, to be sewn up again with our firelight, our singing, our dancing and spooked laughter.
But to really know the seasons just listen! wait! for the days are growing shorter! darker! This morning blossoms into an afternoon of sunshine as warm as a summer’s day, the light does not last as the wind picks up, prowling restlessly through the thinning trees, for night is calling she will be here soon.
You feel the beat of Autumn like a thready pulse through the years. As a child, this time was always full of bustle and noise, of schoolwork and playing in the woods and fields, of scrumping in the orchards, of the cheers of the football crowd. As summer was a time of carefree energy and freedom, and I loved every moment. Autumn that settling into discipline and direction, enthusiasm for the new term was still high, the stress of homework and early exams had yet to set in.
Yet as I grow older, my time becomes more and more my own, the tides of autumn sweep me up and embrace me in their subtle beauty, somewhat more reflective, more solitary, more still. Often in the afternoon I can sit and watch the small birds pushing and shoving each other from the feeders, the Jays and Magpies looking on, swooping down every now and again scattering the squabbling brood. I have time to sit, to listen, from my eyrie high on the downs the distant power station sits brooding black with its huge chimney like some headless sea monster floating upon an ethereal mist, a silver sea.
What connection could there be between the realities of spirit and our spinning on this tiny blue planet in a universe of darkness? I must admit to pondering this question over many years, recently lying on a long barrow in the late autumn sunshine the trees overhanging bedecked with offerings left by others, the blackberry bushes laden heavy with fruit, the verses of Dylan Thomas ‘the force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ going through my mind (I may have even been voicing these out loud) .
At this point, death just did not seem a problem, just lying there on that warm sunny afternoon, I could just imagine the dissolution of my body back into the mud and worms of the earth below me, the veil of self, of other, of spirit and soul, slipping away from me like a death shroud displaced by a sudden gust of wind.
Yet with the words of ‘Do not go gently into that good night’ the world was again so very much with me, the landscape so thick with its presence. For the spell it cast awakened the very urgency of living life to its fullest, to the last moment of my being as part of the sacred world, of patience, of allowing my story to unfold accepting whatever grief or joy that may come.
So yet we continue to ask the question, why should our communion with our beloved dead rely on the coincidental turning of our planet on its axis? For are we not always in touch with those who have crossed that threshold, as with our own mortality and death?
Indeed, even asking why the angle of our sun can grace the daffodils and sticky shining buds of spring, whilst at other times comes down oppressive and hot penetrating the deepest recesses of the summer lakes, to that burst of curiosity and buzzing movement as a child that settles into the long and gentle passing of the days one after the other in adulthood, beneath that same bright, cool sky.
The truth I suspect is, this other world is always with us, for we all live closely with the dead and long departed, drinking the same water they once drank, taking the same gulps of breath as they once took. They are as close to us now as our own skin, bones and blood, for this is true, for as the sky is full of stars as we see them striking out through the darkness or lost when skies are awash in the most brilliant blues of our sun filled days just as we are embedded so very deeply within the seasons, the very moods of the landscape that surrounds us. For as we spin upon our tiny rock, held together by speed and gravity, we have but one world. So feel the pulse of autumn as it beats throughout the years. You may not see it but the blood is forever flowing as the earth’s beating heart remains.
We feel the land as it contracts around us; it breaths in, the tension of things drawing close, the heart drawing ever closer with each and every beat. For as we enjoy the fruits of harvest, the bloody smell of slaughter, we shiver with the setting sun, as the days grow ever shorter, that need to draw nearer to ourselves, to one another for comfort, for warmth or pure necessity. If you care to look, the dead draw near as well. Is it that the veil has thinned or just the distance between us has grown lean and pale? For as we look that much farther we can see, that much deeper into the woods and forests now the leaves have fallenve. Even the sky draws closer with its scudding clouds during those ever brief days as the sun slinks along the horizon like a prowling fox.
The past and the future reach towards one another brushing fingertips in what fleetingly passes as the present, that catching of breath with the thrill of recognition. Just as one day each and every one of us in our turn, too, will brush aside the veil, that ethereal sheen that masks our way blown away by some sudden gust of wind, and as the stars on that clear dark night or the inconstant dead, our turn will come when we to will reach through the darkness, our stories to tell in the living land.
In love and light
Mike Dennis (arianllwynog)
Location: Chatham, England
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