Saturday, 6 October 2007

October... Already!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Well here we are, well into October … the end of the first week to be exact! Already! What can I say? Is it just me or has this year gone by at the speed of light? The biggest problem here is that we are now only seventy-nine days away from Christmas and then only a week ‘til 2008! Any other time of the year seventy-nine days would be a sizable chunk of time but now, with all the pending holidays, it will be gone before you know it.

Autumn is the loveliest (and shortest) season but then I seem to say that about spring, summer and winter as well. How boring life would be without seasons! The trees surrounding us are changing their dresses for the next party, gold and red and amber appearing on the hills seemingly overnight. Pink patches, where the heather bloomed only a few short weeks ago, are being replaced with purples and russets. Brilliant golden autumn sunshine and ultramarine skies giving way to soft, misty greys as gentle as a dove’s wing, quite different from the brooding greys of summer rains. I stood on the road today and watched a yacht, in full sail, gliding silently up the loch, moving through layers of mist … ethereal, beautiful.

Last week, we had our first frost, followed by some glorious sunshine and warmth. This was real Indian summer stuff; the surrounding hills were bathed in that special golden light favoured by Renaissance painters and typified in this example by Bellini, St Francis in the Desert. These bright, warm days rarely occur into November, this final bonus signals the coming of winter.

Christmas in winter is such a treat for us! African (and Australian) Christmases occur in the hottest part of the year and our adaptations of the traditional celebrations take the corresponding temperatures into account. Imagine having the Noel feast at 90 degrees in the shade! This whole northern hemisphere thing is so exotic … like waking up in a lovely Christmas card. Autumn is just the prelude to all this seasonal magic!


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