…..Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?Think not of them, thou hast thy music too….AutumnJohn Keats
What exquisite bitter-sweetness, an English autumn in the countryside. Burgeoning hedgerows, the apple trees in the cottage garden loaded with red sweetness, the waning autumn sun filling the world with its mournful rays.
It’s the end of the summer holidays – no Englishman can forget the days when his parents sent him off at Victoria Station, on the school train to his spartan boarding school on the Kent coast.
His trunk loaded with tweed suits for Sunday best, stout walking shoes, thick trousers, jerseys and his prep school rug for the end of the bed. Back to the dormitories, sweet rationing, cold playing fields and choir practice for the Sunday services at the ancient Saxon church at the top of the village.
It was a day of quiet and serene pleasure. We pottered in the garden, we cycled along the still green lanes.
We were youth and we were age; a delightful 16 year old niece provided the former, myself the latter. My wife somewhere in between.
A meditation on death? Perhaps, especially as we passed my parents newly carved headstone in the local church. But more joy than sadness I think, a day when eternity seemed to have a vivid reality and the passing of the seasons but a pleasant distraction.
Do I mourn the passing days? Do I mourn years past? No, not today at least.
It was a day to live, a day to bathe in autumn sunlight and a piercing blue sky. A day to live for and not a day to fear; certainly not for the future.
A day for gratitude; a day to rejoice in what is, not mourn what is no longer.