Walking Through Autumn

SAMSUNG CSC

In the dark of the year, the landscape glows.  I struggle through mornings that seem deeper and darker than last year, into luminous dawns of pastel pink and baby blue.  The sun is low molten gold, infusing stones and leaves with honey.  The air is chill but the scenery warms my soul.  It is as though nature knows that we need the memory of autumn’s fiery patchwork to warm us through winter.

SAMSUNG CSC

The maples are autumn’s show-offs.  If my eye is caught by a particularly vibrant display I can be almost sure it is a maple, with its blazing sunset palette.  Horse chestnuts offer fat golden fingers edged with rust.  The lindens are wisps of tissue against dark branches, leaves becoming transparent as they turn.  And the beeches are a radiance of colours from delicate greens and yellows to glossy bronze.  Paths become tunnels of gold, carpeted in fallen leaves and overhung by burnished branches.  The ground disappears beneath a crust of copper.  To walk through autumn is to walk an uncertain path, hidden by drifts of kaleidoscopic leaves.

SAMSUNG CSC

In this season, the old cemetery is a gilded place.  Pools of gold against a canvas of fading green.  Shafts of sunlight striping the fallen leaves.  In the old part of the cemetery, eroded stones slant under saffron foliage.  Fallen markers lie broken among sprinkled leaves.  Some graves have become melded to ivy, its roots like foliate inscriptions accenting the words.  Those graves that lie within their own shallow enclosures brim with leafy coverlets, as though the occupant has drawn up a comforter.

SAMSUNG CSC

I’ve come to the cemetery on the Eve of the Dead.  Halloween is when our ancestors are honoured and invited to visit.  I have always loved cemeteries.  I find them neither sad nor scary.  They are places of peace, of undisturbed nature.  This is the place where my parents’ ashes were scattered and where I have said goodbye to others I have known.  I’m struck, suddenly, by just how many people lie here.  In a way, they are all my ancestors: not of blood but of place.  A community of people that shaped the town that shaped me and birthed the people I have known and will know.  The parts of them that remain are only imprints, but their breath is in the breath that stirs the trees, their essence is in the earth on which I walk.

SAMSUNG CSC

I wander the old paths to the gentle caw of crows.  A magpie scolds me from the branches of a sycamore and follows me to the next.  A robin flutters in and out of a hedge.  I have a pebble in my pocket that I took from the beach at spring equinox as a symbol of the light half of the year.  I had no plans what I would do with it, but I’m drawn to a small moss covered gravestone that tilts towards the ground, forgotten in a dark part of the cemetery.  I place the stone on top, leaving a little of its light behind.

SAMSUNG CSC

Halloween has always been my favourite festival.  Its symbolism has all the complexity of autumn.  The old year is gone, all its hopes and dreams stripped away.  But the new year hasn’t yet begun.  This night has a fluidity, a sense of what was and what might be.  It is the start of the dreaming darkness, full of possibilities that haven’t yet been imagined.  As I walk the old paths, I am walking through layers of history.  This is a place that has seen the turn of many years, the turn of countless leaves.   It is a place where the stories that have ended endow those that are to come.

 

77 thoughts on “Walking Through Autumn

  1. “The maples are autumn’s show-offs.” So true, Andrea. In our area, the maples are exploding with color while the others have lost their leaves before ever changing. Thanks for sharing your spectacular photos. Beautiful post!

    Like

  2. Dear Andrea, as so often is the case, your lyrical words give me such a sense of comfort. I was especially taken with “autumn’s fiery patchwork.” Thank you for this lovely post and photos. Wishing you a wonder-filled new week. Mega hugs.

    Like

  3. I feel like I say the same thing every time…beautiful words, beautiful images! 😉

    I always love going on nature walks with you, doll. I haven’t been to a cemetery in a long time, but I have had a similar feeling. Like you, I’m very connected with my surroundings and I tend to feel people/spirits with pretty surreal intensity.

    Like

  4. Love seeing all the posts with autumn colors … my favorite season. Your poetic words always bring it home. The graveyard adds to the feel. I just posted my own autumn poem today. So blessed to have eyes to see the fall show. Thanks for sharing yours.

    Like

  5. Andrea, I love this idea of Halloween being a place of fluidity, of what was and what could possibly be. I don’t know that I’d be able to express how and why I love autumn so much; and I think it’s changed over the years as I’ve grown as a person. You’ve touched on so many of my feelings, that I might just have to point people to this post for the best explanation. I am ambivalent about cemeteries, though. I expect I’ll make my mind up someday, or it will be made for me! Anyway, poetic writing and beautiful photos too. (I have to say that, in one of those, the leaves remind me of candy corn.)

    Like

    • Thanks Leigh, I think I appreciate autumn more and more as I get older, but there is an element of it that can’t be explained, I think we’re drawn to certain seasons because they resonate with something inside us. We don’t have candy corn here but having just looked it up I think I know exactly which tree you mean 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have read a few blog posts about the love of cemeteries.. I admit that they do make me shiver, so I don’t share this feeling with you, but I do appreciate the honoring of those who have passed… and your words on autumn, including the “kaleidoscope leaves” have such a beautiful poetic feel to them ❤

    Like

  7. ‘…the start of the dreaming darkness.’ I love this description. In so many ways it describes my state of mind in the winter: that turning inward, the collecting time, the intense creating time. Wonderful.xx

    Like

  8. I love this post, Andrea. Walking among old headstones in a cemetery is one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny afternoon, especially traipsing among falling leaves. It’s so peaceful and calm, and I leave colorful rocks on the headstones where I stop to think.

    Like

  9. Ah. Yet another lovely tribute to Autumn and its blessings, Andrea. Thank you.

    “The air is chill but the scenery warms my soul. It is as though nature knows that we need the memory of autumn’s fiery patchwork to warm us through winter.” Yes, indeed!

    Like

  10. Beautiful photographs, Andrea. The light and the mist in the air make me think about the thin veil that separates us from the world we know so little about. An old cemetery where my parents are buried is such a familiar place. My grandmother knew most of the graves, and always had a story to tell. When I visit the cemetery, I always walk around and stop at some particular graves. They are still there, and it feels like my Grandma is there too.

    Like

  11. What absolutely lovely trees. I want to hug them all! And those Autumn colours, too — they’re just wonderful. This year, I’m liking Autumn more than usual. Normally it makes me cross because it will lead me into Winter. I don’t know why this has happened, as I’m usually a misery guts in November. Maybe it’s to do with deciding to live for the day, rather than always looking ahead. I think while all the world is going mad, it’s better to concentrate on the beauty of nature from day-to-day, rather than politicians!
    Anyway, I love your post, Andrea — both the pictures and your comments 🙂

    Like

      • I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s up to me to make it good. It’s also to do with celebrating what’s constant i.e the seasons in a world that’s filled with people’s restlessness and a constant in-your-face sell, sell, sell of material things and ideals. It’s so tiring. Just looking at the trees makes me feel rooted and earthed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I happened to read this first thing in the morning and it filled me with a sense of peace. I enjoy walking through our cemeteries here too with the trees and shady spaces. It reminds me of our mortality and fleetingness of life “Momento Mori” but it also makes me grateful for the experience. I’ve also put a few people into the ground and they are still everywhere. I love your thoughts on Hallow’s Eve. Very beautiful in both words and images. Thank you for taking us along!

    Like

  13. I so enjoyed visiting this graveyard with you, Andrea. I, too, love graveyards, and like you, don’t see them as sad or spooky. Just resting places and markers of history. I can see that little pebble cast an aura of light to the soul whose body once lay at that stone. It was a very kind gesture.
    Different subject – I just saw the movie “Arrival” – I suspect you would really like it. I’ll be thinking of it awhile.

    Like

  14. I am like you, Andrea, I love graveyards. They have a wonderful spiritual silence to them and yet have so much to say. There is a walk I take that ends in a graveyard on a cliff overlooking the sea and every time I arrive there I feel blessed, baptised somehow.
    And haven’t the colours been wonderful this Autumn? Quite breathtaking.
    Thank you for putting it all into your inspirational words.

    Like

  15. First off, ever since your writing retreat (for lack of a better term), your writing has been so rich, the language so melodic. I love to read it. And second, I took a similar walk today on the last warm day of autumn. Through the farm with the old horse & hound cemetery, with the dog and my youngest. It is truly balm for the soul. I wish more of us did it more often. It might restore sanity.

    Like

  16. What a stunning set of descriptions, Andrea. You have a gift for capturing the moods of the weather and scenery around you. I read this out loud to my husband, since he loves trees so much. Thanks for the photos as well! We have a glimpse of your environment, which is much appreciated.

    Like

  17. Such a beautiful narrative Andrea, and your stunning photographs capture autumn so perfectly in all her glory. I’ve come to this post late, apologies for that (last week, all my comments went to spam, setting me back), so what a gorgeous reminder of that last gasp of a season so resplendent in colour and shimmer. After the storms of the past three days, winter is upon us as the last of our beautiful leaves have fallen…which leads me to your next post… xxx

    Like

  18. Andrea such a beautiful descriptive post. Autumn is my favourite time of year but we don’t get the deep layers of colour that I witnessed living in England. There is something I find peaceful about old cemeteries too. I guess the history of all those gone before me, reminds me to live in the moment.

    Like

      • I remember driving to Scotland and we had to stop the car because the autumn trees were so stunning we all just got out of the car with our mouths gaping. In those days I did not have a good camera. When I think about all the amazing places I have travelled too I wish I had taken better snaps. But alas the poor back packer would not have appreciated carrying around an expensive camera and lens for a two year travel adventure.

        Like

I love comments, please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s