On the turn

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

72 thoughts on “On the turn

  1. “Summer is wrestling with autumn for dominion.”—I loved that sentence. This entire post is really lovely. Whether we’re ready for it or not, fall is on its way (a season I love, anyway), and your acceptance of it is wonderfully described here.

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  2. This post gave me goose bumps, Andrea. Especially the opening – stunning! As usual, I am experiencing the opposite to you. The flowers are blossoming here in Oz, the clouds parting to reveal the violet sky, my mood is lightening as the days grow longer and brighter. Spring is stirring and awakening our senses. – I can’t wait for Summer! Great post x

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  3. I too love the start of autumn – that freshness in the air, the wisps of fog across the field in the early morning, the droplets of condensation on my windscreen. I’m ready now to don warmer clothing and hunker down for the winter while looking forward to the spring.

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  4. Feeling it in my soul (and my body) too Andrea, this time of year tells me its here long before the temperature goes down, its always a big transition time for me but the berries and the colours in the hedgerows make it worth it. Great post.

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  5. Andrea, this was so very lovely and peaceful. I can imagine Meryl Streep narrating it, like “Wings of Life.”
    You’re very attuned to the changing seasons. It comes through clearly in so many of the things you write.
    I think your area must be a few weeks ahead of mine. I experience some of the things you describe, but my shift is different. When autumn sets in, it lets me tap into the “world between” and i usually have a creative spur. I hope that happens this year. I’m trying so hard to escape this location.
    Love, Light, and mega-hugs!

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  6. Beautiful words and photos, Andrea. I think we had our final burst of summer last Friday here in Chicago, a sticky day in the low 90s. Now we’re enjoying a nice stretch of 70s this week. I love September.

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  7. Lovely post, Andrea. Autumn is my favorite season, but it is hard to leave summer behind. The wasps are especially clingy, I noticed, and will follow anyone if they’re smelling like flowers, food, or sunscreen!

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    • Thanks Kate, autumn is my favourite season too and I’m ready to say goodbye to summer now. Those wasps are terrible now – I don’t mind bees because they have a look and then fly off, but wasps just stay with you!

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  8. Beautiful post, Andrea, I enjoyed your insights and feelings. Early autumn is my favorite time too. Here on the west coast we call it Indian Summer. Still sunny days and blue sky but everything is more gentle and slowing down. A time for reflection as we start to spend more time indoors, moving closer to the hearth. Thanks for sharing those lovely photos.

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  9. Even here, in sunny Southern California, the progressively darkening evenings are calling me inward….and make me want soup! Here’s wishing you well during your period of reflection.

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  10. You are so right, despite having a few weeks of summer left, there is a noticeable change in the air. More little – and not so little- spiders. The leaves of the tulip trees are turning brown, some of my plants are turning that end of summer pink and red. Let’s make the most of these beautiful days!

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  11. ‘Summer is wrestling with autumn for dominion’…what a beautifully written ode to the last gasps of summer this is and how happy that makes me! I feel so cosy reading this post Andrea, ready to put summer to bed now and get ready for this glorious September season. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate it’s beginnings than right here. Just wonderful.

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  12. This is with such a post that I discovered your blog, Andrea. And this one is as beautiful. I love how you connect us to nature, a link that I also acknowledge and respect. Summer, here in Maine where I am for another ten days or so, is slowly giving way to fall. The changes are subtle. Mostly the length of the days and a crispness in the air even when the sun is warm on our shoulders. The leaves haven’t yet changed but people are getting ready for the new season. Pumpkins and apples are replacing the strawberries, biscuits and whipping cream for the strawberry shortcakes. And I am looking forward to putting my summer ideas into a story.

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  13. Andrea beautiful words and images too. Today I drove into town and all along the river bank the pink blossoms are out. Green, green grass, black and white cows and pink blossoms. Spring is my favourite time of year and then Autumn. Enjoy the changes, I always do.

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  14. Andrea, your writing goes straight to my heart. I feel the same about autumn, but I sure can’t express it like you do. And your images speak for themselves. Thank you for these beautiful bitter-sweet moments.

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  15. Others have already commented on my favorite lines in the post, and there were many. You’ve outdone yourself, Andrea, and your words come from the soul of a poet.
    There is something about the changing seasons that resonates within us, and you’ve captured it beautifully.

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  16. I nominate you for a One Lovely blog award. If you have no time for this, it is OK, no worries. I just want the other bloggers to know about your wonderful blog. Thank you for your great work! 🙂

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  17. I love this post Andrea! as usual beautifully written -poetic! I too can feel the turn in my soul – this deep need for gratitude..AND I can feel it in my body. Autumn always takes a toll on me physically – a shedding of sorts 🙂

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  18. When I sit having a cup of tea in bed in the morning, my view through the window is of a wooded slope. All the trees are green, except one — a single, lonely sycamore.
    Determined to pretend it’s still summer, I’ve not resorted to knitwear yet, but am instead sneaking a thermal vest on under my shirts morning and evening.

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  19. Aah, so much soothing and unwinding I find in this post Andrea. Very well written. I too look forward to go inward and I wonder how long it’s going to take me while outside it still looks and feels like summer
    No warm socks and raincoats needed here..for now 🙂

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    • Thanks Karin, welcome back! It will be very different for you this year, but I’m sure you’ll find your way of connecting with the place and the seasons, even if they’re not as obvious. Look forward to hearing about it 🙂

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