«Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun…»
I thought I'd start off with a literary quotation and if you're a little mystified, let me explain. These are the opening lines of a poem by the Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821) where he is describing the season of Autumn, in which we currently find ourselves.
He is talking about the low clouds and the ripeness of the fruit on the trees and points to the close relationship that autumn has with the sun that both ripens and is also itself becoming riper. A very evocative description of the season in the little island where I spend most of my days called UK. Mind you if I had to give a weather forecast, I would find it extremely difficult because every season nowadays seems «topsy-turvy» (the wrong way round). We are told that this all comes about through global warming and that the planet itself is getting warmer. But then John Keats in his tragically short life didn't have to worry about that.
Nevertheless around September, give or take a week or two, trees start to shed their leaves after they have turned a golden brown. An interesting word «shed» because whereas here it means «drop», as a noun it means a little wooden hut in the garden in which you keep garden tools — more often than not to clear up the leaves that have been shed! And talking of leaves falling, I do like the American English word for autumn, which is very expressive: the Fall. Around this time of year crops are harvested and collected although because of the heavy rainfall over the last few weeks many have been destroyed. Gardeners are busy tidying up as most of the summer flowers are dying away. It's a time of year when you try and pretend that it's still summer but in your heart you know that winter is on the way.
Aside from nature of course there are also changes in human activity. People have come back from their summer holidays and realise that they have to face the reality of work again. Politicians have been relatively quiet during the summer and have not been worrying us with their threats, promises and speeches and the silence like the leaves on the trees has been golden. But that is about to end because now it is the party conference season. Each of the main political parties here chooses a venue, very often a seaside resort, to which members are invited for a week's conference when speeches are delivered and the leader of the party makes a rousing speech. The success of this speech on the last day is measured by the duration of the applause and the number of delegates standing up.
This is known as a standing ovation. They then return to their homes and the new session of parliament begins some days later. It is also the start of the new school year for the children and their teachers. And for the older ones the beginning of their university careers. Incidentally the favourite word currently is «uni» as «university» is now considered very «old hat» or old fashioned. Shopkeepers are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of their next big sales drive — Christmas. But this is all getting too much for me. I'd prefer to get back to natural matters especially as I look out of my study window and see that the September sun is shining well. Let's see how John Keats finishes his poem on Autumn:
«The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.»
If you have any questions or comments regarding this essay, please post your answers on the forum here: The leaves are comong down