“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.”
Autumn has always been a season of mixed emotions for me: when I was young, living in England, it brought feelings of joy and satisfaction at the sight of the beautiful colours of autumn leaves, the Harvest Festival produce, or the first, glowing coals in the hearth on a cool evening: on the other side, feelings of nostalgia and sadness are common because of the passing of summer, the ending of the growing season and the cool, misty mornings, which herald a grey, chilly winter.
Autumn leaves, Takayama, Japan 2004.
I have now spent more than half of my 66 years in the Southern hemisphere, living in SE Queensland, and here Autumn brings Easter, symbols of Spring in the shops, and chocolate bilbies. The joy comes as the heat of the last 4 months abates and I discover a new energy, having to ease my way back into some degree of fitness, and trying to catch up with jobs around the house and garden. It seems that there is no autumn season. There are no autumn leaves; the colours change later in the winter, even just before the Spring. It is in the Spring when jacaranda trees turn yellow and drop their leaves, exposing a bare skeleton. This traditionally happens just in time to be covered in blossom, usually the third week in October, when university exams are underway.
Autumn in Qld means the beginning of the winter growing season of all sorts of delicious vegetables: spinach, leeks, broad beans, parsnips, as well as the all year round crops which include lettuce, Asian greens, and herbs like basil, parsley and coriander. It is a season of clearing garden beds, chopping down weeds and slashing back the undergrowth – well, that is how it goes in my garden. It is the end of the rainy season, and as soon as seeds are sown and plants are in the ground, the weather turns dry again and the whole garden seems to immediately demand watering every day, in the bright, dry, wintry weather.
New growth and new beginnings are common themes in March and April, both in the UK and here in Queensland. Here the school year is underway and Universities have started up again. As I plant my winter vegies I will be thinking of the countryside in England and imagining the seeds being sown in neat rows in the gardens of my family and friends.
Starting up my blog, and being a bit of a language nerd, I am going to warm up by writing about subjects from A to Z, and ‘Autumn’ has been the ‘A’ blog.
I wonder what Autumn means to you?