The many faces of autumn….

Autumn Leaves, by Millais

On ‘let’s talk’ we occasionally look at the way we sense our feelings are reflected in the work of artists, poets, film-makers and writers. Creativity and mood are very closely linked and many who find no other way to express their feelings find an outlet in creative expression.

The season is now definitely changing. We have temperatures in the late ‘teens, gentle warmth still lingers and any sunlight seems to glow across the landscape in a gentler fashion than in the height of summer. But there is little doubt that dusk is coming earlier and more of us are waking up for work before the sun has risen above the horizon.

Autumn means different things to different people. Many love it – the smell of bonfires, of the earth and the ripe fruit. Others find it lowering, having a sense of things dying and of the coming end of yet another year. Those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) come to dread the lower light levels and the feeling of darkness closing in.

As we know, more than one thing can be ‘true’. We can choose ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats to enjoy the sensual pleasures of the season and revel in the ‘last oozings’ of the year. Here is a reading by actor Ben Wishaw:

Or we can approach it like  François-René de Chateaubriand in Memoires D’outre Tombe

“A moral character is attached to autumnal scenes; the leaves falling like our years, the flowers fading like our hours, the clouds fleeting like our illusions, the light diminishing like our intelligence, the sun growing colder like our affections, the rivers becoming frozen like our lives–all bear secret relations to our destinies.”

But for an expression of BOTH truths, how about the words of Edward Thomas in one of his two poems entitled ‘Digging’…

To-day I think
Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke’s smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

Those ‘sad songs of autumn mirth’ are with us now. Live with them and enjoy them.

How do you approach the season? What does it mean to you? We would love to hear your views.

Advertisements