The sycamore knows what the other trees still only sense. It has already turned, leaves ablaze against the green of its elders. Already, its leaves are scattered on the grass, a fiery mat like a magic circle inside which autumn reigns. Outside this world between the worlds, summer clings on.
The insects know. The last of them are greedy for nectar before the cold season begins. A painted lady, suckling on the remnants of the knapweed. A bee guzzling clover on the last meadow. Wasps at their most clingy hovering over food and drink. The garden spider squats in her impressive orb in my yard. She will die with the coming season leaving a clutch of silk-wrapped eggs to hatch in spring. The last of the swallows still swoops for insects to sustain her on her African odyssey. Mobs of sparrows and starlings, born earlier this year, squabble in hedgerows and on pavements. Yet though spring is long over, the piercing call of baby seagulls wanting to be fed is still a common sound.
The flowers know. Those few still in blossom are starkly bright, like star performers under spotlights. Goldenrod and toadflax are reminders of the sun. The willowherbs offer up a last glimpse of the colour purple. But the plant life is now overgrown and messy. It’s the season of seeds and fruit. The seed heads are dry skeletons and furry tufts – the flowers doing all they can to reproduce before the dying season begins. Berries take on the mantle of colour now, waxy spheres of crimson, black and orange.
The weather knows. Summer is wrestling with autumn for dominion. It’s difficult to know what to wear for the best. Put on something warm and the sun will be blazing by the time you come home. Don’t wear a coat and it will rain. The mornings are chilly and often misty. The wind has howled a taste of what is to come. The days are mostly still bright, but you can feel the change in the dark of early morning.
And I know. I can feel the turn in my soul. I know it when I wake to the dark, cold morning and my body wants to continue sleeping. I know it when I sense the mist in the air. I feel it in the craving to wear woollens and to sit before the fire, even though the sun is shining outside. I feel myself slowing down. My creative cycle for the year is coming to an end. There are fewer new ideas sparking. I don’t have the same urge to fling my work out into the world. Instead, I’m finishing projects where I can before the harvest. My thoughts are turning towards reflection and renewal. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the long, dark dreaming months, during which I can conjure new dreams for the year to come.