By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer.
~ Helen Hunt Jackson
Autumn is knocking at the door. The last roses of the year are bravely blooming. But most flowers are fading fast. Swallows are gathering on the wires ready for their long journey south - a sure sign that summer is almost over.
We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds
of Summer's wreckage. We will welcome Summer's ghost.
~ Henry Rollins
In the early morning, dew settles on the grass, the distant fields are shrouded in mist and the evenings are chilly - log fires have been lit. Everything seems to slow down at this time of year, and although we haven't had the best of summers, I sit here wishing that I had made more of it now that it is nearly over. I will miss sitting at the garden table reading in the afternoon sun; watching the birds and bees going about their business.
'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone,
As her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
~ Thomas Moore
But it also makes me realise how lazy I have been over the last few weeks; putting off household chores in favour of lingering in the garden.
Now the compulsion to put my home to rights is at the front of my mind. The oven has been cleaned; the fridge emptied and suspect items of food thrown away; surfaces cleared and cleaned; everything tidied away - my little kitchen looking spick and span - for a while anyway, whilst the rest of the ground floor is in chaos as we stack the pictures, move furniture and cover everything in dust sheets.
It has rained steadily over the last few days which has brought the sweet peas back to life - I thought they were on their last legs; surprising what a good downpour from the heavens can do. I looked out of the window and saw the cows huddled into the hedgerow, looking downcast.
Yet Saturday was a really pleasant day. I went out in the early evening to get some fresh air after toiling indoors all day; the sun was slowly sinking and the air was still; I set about weeding the vegetable beds which had become overrun with weeds. The earth was warm beneath my fingers and my mind drifted as I worked - it was one of those moments when I just felt happy - for no particular reason. My only company was the garden Robin singing away - he seemed happy too. Then in one last hurrah, the sun gilded the apple tree in a rosy light, that quite took my breath away, before it disappeared below the horizon. When I came back indoors I wrote down how I felt because I wanted to remember it just as it happened.
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal
sunshine by staying in the house
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
I will soon be re-starting my daily afternoon walk - I always abandon this during the summer in favour of working in the garden. I am looking forward to seeing how the countryside around me will change over the coming weeks; and of course taking plenty of pictures to accompany my future posts. I am trying to learn to use my husbands more complicated camera when I am at home, rather than my little 'point and click' - hopefully I will get the hang of it, eventually!
Now, on a golden day in late September, I took two books out to a deckchair in the garden. The first apples were thumping down. The last swallows were dipping and soaring, dipping and soaring over the pond. A dragonfly hovered, its electric-blue back catching the sunlight. There had been an early mist and cobwebs draped over the long grass like parasols caught and held on their four corners. The air smelled of damp earth.
- Susan Hill
- Susan Hill
Although this poem is for a later time of year it still says Autumn to me with some beautifully descriptive lines - the daggered hawthorn bleeds bright crimson beads - read on:-
Now is the tolling time
Between the falling and the buried leaf;
A solitary bell
Saddens the soft air with the last knell
Gone is the swallow's flight, the curving sheaf;
The plums are bruised that hung from a bent bough,
Wasp-plundered apples in the dew-drenched grass
Lie rotting now.
Doomed with the rest, the daggered hawthorn bleeds
Bright crimson beads
For the birds' feast.
Gone are the clusters of ripe cherries,
Tart crabs and damsons where a bullfinch tarried,
Only the camp-fire coloured rowan berries
Now is the time of slow, mist-hindered dawns,
Of sun that stains
Weeds tarnished early in the chilling rains,
Of coarse-cut stubble fields
Where starlings gather, busy with the scant grain,
And the hoarse chattering proclaims
The spent season.
Now are the last days of warm sun
That fires the rusted bracken on the hill,
And mellows the deserted trees
Where the last leaves cling, sapless, shrunk, and yellow.
A robin finds some warm October bough
Recapturing his song
Of Aprils gone,
And tardy blackbirds in the late-green larch
St. Luke's Summer ~ Phoebe Hesketh
And so my friends - enjoy the last of the summer wine while you can.
'Til next time