Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Melancholy Beauty of Autumn Walks


Autumn, season of  sadness with the possibilities of summer gone, and the chill of winter upon us with the promise of leaden skies.   Keats poem (below) has been interpreted as a meditation on death

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
                                                  John Keats, To Autumn

For me the season often induces a not unpleasant sense of melancholy, an awareness of my own mortality and of the passing of time - time that I wasted and will never have again.

At its best it is quite the loveliest of seasons and this years autumn colour is the most vibrant I have seen in years.

The afternoon sun lit the Dorset countryside enhancing the landscape with a glow of gold. We walked from the Brace of Pheasants pub at Plush, quickly shaking off our red wine and game stew induced stupor when we experienced the exhilaration of a murmuration of starlings, wheeling and diving across the landscape.

Their chattering calls changing to an enormous whoosh when, as one, they suddenly took to the skies then a dark cloud descending like a whirling avian tornado to suddenly become stilled and silent as they settled back down onto the fields and trees.

The next day a short walk around the supposedly haunted Coney's Castle gave us some more of the best Autumnal offerings.  Spectacular views to the coast and countryside where marauding Danes and Vikings once pillaged and plundered.

I bet they weren't as out of puff after climbing the slopes as we were or they would have been easily picked off by the Iron Age fort dwellers at the top.

We felt no ghosts today, just the gentle melancholy of the Autumnal beauty all around.