Tuesday, September 22, 2020

So Long Summer, Hello Autumn



" Every leaf speaks bliss to me, 
falling from the autumn tree. "
EMILY BRONTE


The weather of the last few days has closed out summer most graciously. On Sunday we took a drive through the countryside. I always love that sense of moving away from the busyness of city streets and entering a world where straw-coloured fields stubble the view, with tree lines showing off their patchwork of summer greens and autumn golds. We packed sandwiches and a thermos of tea for a picnic in the park. Sometimes we drive until we say, "Here, let's stop here". Other times we have a certain destination in mind. We headed to a nearby park, found an empty table in the sunshine and sat with the sun warm on our backs. Smoke from a campfire filled the air—it was the smell of happy weiner roast and, thankfully, not of forest fire. 

And, yesterday was perfect to meet up with former neighbours who were in the area. We sat in the garden, Covid-style. The sun was warm and Sweet Alyssum filled the air with fragrance. Bees hummed from Alyssum to Rudbeckia to Sedum back to Alyssum, their presence filling us all with delight as we spent a pleasant hour over coffee and conversation.




Today marks Autumnal Equinox, the time when day and night are equal length, and it is the point during the Earth's orbit around the sun at which the sun is closest distance from the equator. So Happy Autumn!

To mark the occasion, I reached for my copy of Autumn, An anthology for the changing seasons, edited by Melissa Harrison. Here is a bit about the book from the inside cover: "In prose and poetry from across the British Isles, Autumn captures both the exhilaration and the melancholy of this turning point in the year." And, here is an excerpt from one of the contributors:
"Autumn is an adventure, a season of transformation, and a time to prepare for the long winter ahead. It is a thousand leaves falling to the ground and nourishing the soil beneath; it is . . . refreshing winds that sweep the haze of summer away; it is the calm before the storm. More than that, though, autumn is a celebration of senses, of new experiences for your eyes, ears, tongue, skin and nose; it rouses your consciousness after the calming effects of summer. Autumn isn't the season of decay or death, but one of wealth and renewal. It is the changing landscape; the subtle anticipation of winter. Autumn is to be enjoyed. Autumn is bold bursts of colour that leap from every corner of the landscape; it is golden yellow, fiery red, bright orange, and rich chocolate brown, and a faded green that reminds us of summer."     
From the essay by Louise Baker, 2016


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Wishing you a beautiful day.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox



Friday, September 18, 2020

Summer's Fading Charm and a Posy of Sweet Peas


" When summer gathers up her robes of glory,
And, like a dream glides away. "
SARAH HELEN WHITMAN


Autumn was always my favourite season. But in more recent years, I felt less adamant about it, for I found myself truly anticipating and appreciating each season, yes, including winter. With that, I sort of assumed they were each my favourites, by turn. But yesterday, I realized, as an unbidden joy sprung up from within, Autumn was....and still remains my most favourite season of the year. I could feel my senses alert to the moment, for I adore that contrast of crisp, cool air against the sun's warm rays. And, that's exactly how the day felt in late afternoon.

As I drove round the traffic circle, heading down the winding street towards home, happiness welled up as I caught sight of the slanting light hitting the tops of the trees. There was a marked ambiance, heavy with a sense of relief, as if the earth, brilliant and bold and bountiful all spring and summer, could at last let go of her boundless energy, and relax—much like the relief a woman feels after holding in her midriff wearing a fitted dress all afternoon. Oh, the joy of letting go.

The glories in the garden begin to fade, and I feel the peacefulness of that evanescent charm. And as much as I am smitten with the riotous beauty of autumn's raving russets and luminous gold-leaf, still to come in our area, I think what I really have come to appreciate is that sense of being able to come back to oneself, to center one's soul. The old Victoria magazines, in its September issues, used to focus on finding the quiet center of one's life, and writing from that to the world....to use words Sarah Orne Jewett once penned.

I found these various lines below attributed to American author Gladys Taber. She seems to have captured the feeling of summer's fading charm much better than I have. Let me share: 
September wind blows away the fatigue of summer heat, and the listlessness of August weather. It blows away, indeed, the piled up years. It makes the heart young. Going back to school, football games, dancing, falling in love, corn roasts, moonlight rides - so many such things belong to September. . . .

I have always felt that something fine is about to happen. And the fact that winter is on the way is not troubling this early in autumn. Time enough to think of that in October and November, but now it is too soon. First comes the harvest, the last ripening, the splash of zinnia color in the garden, the perfect late golden rose. Yes, a good time to be young, and to relive young days. . . .


"Notice the beauty.
See what lovely things there are for you to do
in your corner of the world."


I snipped the last of the sweet peas from the vine a couple of mornings ago. A handful of seeds tucked into the ground early in spring now towered overhead. The vines outgrew their trellises which seemed tall enough in May. So much joy they've provided over the summer months. Jars on the kitchen counter, fistfuls handed to neighbours and friends who stopped by.

And, on this particular morning, I had a feather thought to give a bouquet to the mail lady who had just pulled up at the cluster of mailboxes across the street. Nearly brushing the thought aside, I hurried inside to find a jar and add water. I crossed the street—carefully, covidly—holding out the bunch of perfumed petals, "Would you like some sweet peas?" With an instant smile and reaching out with an open hand came the exclamation, "I love sweet peas. Oh, I can smell them. Are you sure?" Oh yes!

And so the days unfold in pleasant gentleness and quietude.... on my street, in my home, in my heart.



'Summer's fading charm as seen below...'










'the perfect late golden rose'


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Wishing you a beautiful weekend.
Be well. Be safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox





Monday, September 14, 2020

The Simple Woman's Daybook: September Edition



" ...and all at once, summer collapsed into fall."
OSCAR WILDE


It's Monday morning and I'm up in the wee hours. I was still in bed when I heard a weird crash in the kitchen. Flying downstairs, I found nothing more than garden books from the kitchen shelf sprawled on the floor. A few days earlier, I'd taken out a small seasonal floral arrangement I'd been using as a bookend. Without its support, the books must have gradually slid off the shelf, causing the vitamin and pill bottles to add their quirky percussion.

Since I'm up, I'm putting the finishing touches to the September edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook. It will be sweet and simple today. I hope you all keep safe—there are so many things that are in turmoil these days—dear Lord, have mercy on us all.



TODAY

“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it.
It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.”
ANN PATCHETT



Looking out my window...
it was green, green, green one day, but when I went for my walk the next,
overnight autumn had arrived in the neighbourhood. It's overcast and windy today.


I am thinking...
about how comforting the brewing coffee smells this morning.


I am thankful...
that my sweet husband cheerfully makes coffee every morning and brings us
a cup in bed. We both start the day slowly and easily. It must be a family trait, 
for I hear my brother-in-law does the same for his sweetheart.


One of my favorite things...
the scent of lemon zest baking in blueberry muffins.


I am creating...
not much with my hands these days. I used to love needlework,
scrapbooking, and painting with watercolours. But now, mostly, I love
to play with words, aiming to create lovely sentences to share with you here. 


I am wearing...
a sleeveless turquoise top with black leggings, black flop sandals, silver bracelets.


I am reading...
just starting Ann Patchett's novel State of Wonder, in which research scientist
Dr Marina Singh is sent to the Amazon to find her former mentor,
who seems to have disappeared while working on a new drug. I'm reading it because
Elizabeth Gilbert in her engaging book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear
tells a tale of how Patchett's novel came to be.

The real state of wonder around here is that I finally bent my pride to start
asking for the Large Print copies when borrowing from the library.
My reading pleasure has increased exponentially.  


I am watching...
and enjoying—for the second time go around—Season one of New Tricks
on Prime. It's the 2003 British police procedural comedy-drama series,
where Superintendent Sandra Pullman and three retired (eccentric) police
officers try to clear up unsolved crime cases. Evenings grow dark early now.


I am hoping...
for the frost to hold off for a while yet. My roses are still budding like crazy.
I think they kinda like the cool mornings?? Or, they realize their season in nearly done.




In my kitchen...
in my thrift store ceramic bowl  
"Food for the soul"




In my garden...
The white Alyssums outdid themselves this summer.
Not only did they spill from the pots in merry abandonment,
they filled the air with sweet scent and attracted many bees. Don't
ask me what the pink flowers are, because I don't recall at the moment.


PostScript...
I'm sharing the LINK again to my recent Guest Blogger post about
shadow mentors....in case you missed it the first go around.
I'd love for you to visit.


Shared Quote...

"...Each of us needed to find just the right way to take our mind off our problems,
and it did not matter what that was—a drive in the country, an expedition to a shoe shop,
a quiet cup of tea under a cloudless sky; each of us had something that made it easier
to continue in a world that sometimes, just sometimes, was not as we might wish it to be."
ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party



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Wishing you a beautiful day. Go.Be.Love. Keep safe.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox



Joining The Simple Woman's Daybook this week