There is something about this time of the year — autumn –that is intensely moving. Perhaps it’s because nature and all creation are getting ready to rest for a while and they’re giving us a show to remember them by – their last hurrah, as it were, for this year.
For a few, like the lovely viburnum tree that used to grace the path to the front door, it was a sad final hurrah last year, much as I had suspected because it displayed its most magnificent colours. It must have exhausted itself with such tremendous effort. I was reluctant to cut it down when it had failed to leaf out in spring — its branches and trunk had an arresting and stark beauty, even bereft of leaves and flowers. I thought, half-heartedly, that it might just revive, given enough encouragement. To my regret it didn’t.
At this time of year, leaves show such a spectacular range of colours — finally exposed to our view as chlorophyll returns to the roots to be stored over winter. Mother Nature knows not to throw such valuable stuff away. There in the roots it lies waiting to be called out in the spring. A marvelous cycle of life and rejuvenation.
In the back garden, the birches in the woods behind are strikingly orange in the sun, and their white trunks are displayed to great advantage. The hazels, both the contorted one and the standard one, are turning yellow. Just near the hazel hedge, a European spindle tree, a Euonymus, has had red leaves for some time now and with its pinky-red and orange berries (what a combination!), it is truly a sight. The nasturtiums, called Kapuchinkresse (monk’s cress) in German, are still going strong. I might have some time to pickle a few buds and seeds to spice up my salads in the winter.
There is a Japanese folk song about the seasons – Shiki no Uta, 四季の歌 — that I remember from my university years in Tokyo, and the words come to me now.
Aki wo aisuru hito wa 秋を愛する人は
Kokoro fukaki hito 心深き人
Ai wo kataru Haine no youna 愛を語るハイネのような
Boku no koibito. 僕の恋人。
One who loves autumn
Is a person with a deep heart
Just like (the poet) Heine who speaks of love —