Monday, September 22, 2014


Autumnal Equinox, 2014! To welcome my favourite season, some words from a set of writers
I look on as absolute masters of their craft. They are (in no particular order) American, English, Scottish, Welsh & Northern Irish (because Britons are... better together but can also be appreciated apart - see!).

“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
― Stephen King, "Salem's Lot"

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”
~ Ray Bradbury

“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days...”

~ Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

“Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn.”
~Sir Walter Scott

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

~ G.K. Chesterton "Gold Leaves"

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
for a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots
where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
we trekked and picked until the cans were full,
until the tinkling bottom had been covered
with green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
the fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

~Seamus Heaney "Blackberry Picking"

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~ George Eliot [Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]

“Autumns reward western Kansas for the evils that the remaining seasons impose: winter's rough Colorado winds and hip-high, sheep-slaughtering snows; the slushes and the strange land fogs of spring; and summer, when even crows seek the puny shade, and the tawny infinitude of wheatstalks bristle, blaze. At last, after September, another weather arrives, an Indian summer that occasionally endures until Christmas.”
~ Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood"

“It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding back highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow - flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange.”
~ Bill Bryson, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away"

“The summer ended. Day by day, and taking its time, the summer ended. The noises in the street began to change, diminish, voices became fewer, the music sparse. Daily, blocks and blocks of children were spirited away. Grownups retreated from the streets, into the houses. Adolescents moved from the sidewalk to the stoop to the hallway to the stairs, and rooftops were abandoned. Such trees as there were allowed their leaves to fall - they fell unnoticed - seeming to promise, not without bitterness, to endure another year. At night, from a distance, the parks and playgrounds seemed inhabited by fireflies, and the night came sooner, inched in closer, fell with a greater weight. The sound of the alarm clock conquered the sound of the tambourine, the houses put on their winter faces. The houses stared down a bitter landscape, seeming, not without bitterness, to have resolved to endure another year.”
~ James Baldwin


Sonny Gianetti said...

59 glorious degrees when I woke up this morning. there are a few gold and red leaves falling from the trees but for the most part, its still green here in nc. It'll likely take till late oct. to actually SEE fall here. So I will wait and watch with great anticipation.
this is by far my favorite season followed closely by winter... spring is nice and I endure summer with as much grace as possible.
Happy Fall Annie ~!

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Happy Season to you too!
In Oklahoma, at least the south-western area where we are, it'll be several more weeks before autumn starts to show. We have slightly cooler bookends to the day now, but afternoons are still hot, high 80s low 90s, and often humid this year.

I'm hoping for as good a show of colour as we had last year here in town - there are lots of trees around, which is nice. Last year's Fall brought by far the best show of colour I've seen since living here, and better than we've found on any of our leaf-peeping trips over the years.

mike said...

Twilight and Sonny, I'm envious of your cooler nights! An overnight low of 59* won't be here at the border for a while, at least not usually. First year here, it didn't cool-down until January, and then only for a couple of weeks...all fall and no winter that year. Fall typically arrives in November or December, and is more like your early summer. Winter lasts about six weeks and is more like your fall, often without ever dipping below freezing. Our severe winters have several nights into the upper 20*s. About every 20 years, there will be a rough winter with lows in the upper teens.

I recently read that this could be one of the more severe winters due to the record-breaking volcanic activity around the world.

Happy equinox and Pluto direct!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh my! Your climate would be way more than I could bear.

We get extremes of both heat and cold here, along with the Alley's potential for tornado action too. :-( Never a dull moment eh?

Last winter here was colder, and longer, than most other winters since I've been here. Maybe it's a trend of extremes becoming even more extreme, brought on by climate change. Straight cold doesn't bother me too much, but major ice storms can be scary. I've experienced two of those, but only one episode of heavy snowfall.

Happy Equinox to you too, mike!

Sonny Gianetti said...

Happy Happy to you too Mike.

wow ya'll are fairly warm most of the year.

I too read middle and eastern US will likely having a bad winter and I am going to get a small generator next week.

Wishing you lots of fall trees in blazingly beautiful colors, Annie

Anonymous said...

San Francisco weather here...just ended what is summer in these parts;cold,foggy but still no rain. Fall by the calendar but it's summer here. The best months are September to November. I endured many a Northeastern winter;don't miss it although like that old song,'Autumn in New York", that I miss.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ It seems that a good proportion of weather in the USA is out of step with what's traditionally expected as we reach equinoxes - a few weeks or months behind, in respect of this equinox more than t'others. I suppose with a land mass as vast as this, and 4 time zones, it's to be expected. :-)