Autumn. It sneaks up quietly, almost imperceptibly. Cool, delicious air slices the humidity, rendering afternoons exquisite for long walks. Blue skies give way to a softer grey. We reach for a pair of socks for the first time in months, lay a blanket at the end of the bed and absently reach for a sweater towards evening. And slowly, ever so slowly, nature signals its own primordial changes. Feet imprint the dampness of the ravine and forest floors. Legs feels the first sting of cold lake water. The ground is laden with curiously blemished apples and acorns whose tiny caps are still intact. Rowan branches hang low with burnt orange, yellow and blood red berries. The last of the wild raspberries lay tangled and hidden, forcing one last blast of crimson colour. Rosehips cluster and blaze across sturdy branches. And burdock bears its purple thistle, its needle-like spines green and less forbidding than those to come.
It’s a time of hesitating, suspended beauty this space between summer’s end and autumn’s unfolding. Before leaves change fiery hue, their tarnished backs pressed to the pavements or crumpled underfoot. Before the last of the wildflowers fade and the milkweed bursts, its silken threads carried on the wind. Before trees stand bare, their branches skeletal and snapping with cold. Before night skies turn inky and brooding with snow. Before the final reduction of colour and warmth, the dimming of light and winter’s persuasive pull.
Transition. Space. Change. A reminder that we need to loosen our grip and move courageously, and with as much grace as we can muster, towards that which lies in wait. I took a ravine walk home, collecting the treasures of these last days of summer, these portents of autumn. Holding each. Holding on.