Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

The changes arrive slowly. First it’s the early morning chill that makes you realise all of a sudden that it is not enough to don just a Lycra vest and shorts to cycle to work. Next it is the jumper one throws on to nip out to the shops or the tweed jacket bought in Brick Lane for a tenner that becomes our companion on informal outings. Tea goes back to its usual hot state instead of the iced variety favoured in summer (either way I am not a tea drinker, so that one does not apply to me). Hot chocolates and mochas, on the other hand, become my poison of choice.

It's autumn again.

Autumn is nature’s way of frowning upon the landscape. An auburn, orange, golden and red type of frown. A multi-coloured mist that descends upon us all. All the merriment of summer is drowned out by the early October showers. This is swiftly followed by an ankle-deep swamp of fallen leaves on the ground. By early December the autumn brown becomes winter brown until eventually it turns a winter white with the first snowfall.

But this year autumn has not shown its face in my part of London. We have had the washouts, oh, yes, we’ve had those. However, leaves remain a stubborn green, the seasonal crimson not yet a reality. I wait patiently until the front wheel of my bike parts the sea of leaves on my way to work turning me into a Moses for the day, as I do every year. I long for the dramatic sunsets, earlier, yes, but still dramatic. I feel jealous of you, country dwellers, witnesses to berry-gorging birds and filling up your lungs with the scent of heather.


Autumn is a season of longing, or as the Portuguese would put it, a season of saudade, one of my favourite words ever. My preference for this time of the year does not stem from the date on my birth certificate. No, even if I had been born in a different month of the year I would still have willingly changed the date in my certificate to September, October or November. I’m an autumn sign, regardless of the Zodiac. Central to this is the question of nostalgia, melancholy and remembrance. The way tree branches, pregnant with green leaves, grow thin in a matter of weeks reminds me of loss. Autumn’s music is a bandoneón, a fiddle, Bach’s “Italian” period and the wind softly whispering in my ear. What is it saying, you might wonder? Nature’s frown is on its way, kid, fret not.

So, I wait. Still, I wait.



© 2014

Photo taken by the blog author

Next Post: “Let’s Talk About...”, to be published on Wednesday 22nd October at 11:59pm (GMT)

26 comments:

  1. I love autumn beauty and you are right about the season being nostalgic. It is slow coming to me though, all but one of my trees are still green.

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  2. A mí me entristece el otoño pero reconozco su belleza que tú retratas tan bien en tu relato de hoy.
    Que tengas una buena semana.
    Saludos.

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  3. And here in Montreal the leaves have changed dramatically and are gorgeous. I see a little green, but yellows, oranges and reds, and the colours are beautiful.

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  4. we're having a very beautiful autumn up here in Scotland, but yes it's later than normal

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  5. I so agree with you about the season being nostalgic...every autumn, I mourn the gradual demise of summer - by far my favourite time of year.
    But I am mourning less than usual this year...there are still wallflowers and snapdragons flowering in my garden, plus my two Oak trees are dressed in green still. Aah...such escapism!;)

    Happy Sunday :)

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  6. The leaves are changing and the signs are sure here, but still friggin hot. But anything beats snow.

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  7. We are still waiting for autumn in SF but California is now in the 4th or 5h year of a crushing drought and the hot, dry days follow, one after another. I go looking on the Internet for photos of rain and trees changing color. Our hills are white brown and dangerously dry.

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  8. Yo creo que es la temporada más bonita del año, pero es cierto que te hace pensar en lo que a uno le viene, el largo y duro invierno.
    He salido esta mañana y he notado que no me había suficientemente abrigado, así que tendré que ir vigilando la temperatura.
    Que tengas una buena estación otoñal.

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  9. I know autumn is beautiful (I live near a forest, so celebrate its wonderfulness by kicking through leaves with the grandchildren) but can't help longing for the hot summer days.

    By the time I've forgiven the days for getting shorter it's winter, and I'm heading for somewhere warm.

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  10. Our autumn is mostly over.. just a bit of colour remains. I love summer best but there's no denying the beauty of this season. It's just the next several months which are difficult.

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  12. T.S. Eliot wrote:
    April is the 'cruellest' month ....

    Deep Purple sang:
    April is a cruel time
    Even though the sun may shine ....

    But, in my mind, October should have that distinction.
    Beautiful, yes, but treacherous and deadly.
    It also is expensive in terms of yard work and leaf removal .... uffff ....

    Just for the record, November is a fine month -- especially when considering a notable birthday ....

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  13. Hi Cubano!

    It has long been autumn here in New York--I am in the City right now where it is still pretty green, but up where I live--in the mountains--the leaves have all past their prime. It actually has been kind of a smiling autumn--very little rain-almost a drought, so beautiful but a little worrisome. But I understand what you mean by the frown and also the saudade, which is also one of my favorite words. Thanks for the thoughtful post and the thoughts of Bach as well. (Whom I'm never thought of as going with fall, but he really does.) k.

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  14. We had a late fall a few years back. It stayed warm and green well into October, but winter hit all at once, and most leaves went from green to brown without bothering to stop at red or yellow along the way.
    It has always struck me how the sights and smells of fall, so beautiful and comforting, are the death rattle of all things green.

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  15. we drove back through the mountains today and they are starting to really change here...ther eis def some stubborn green but some beautiful colors are popping out....

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  16. Oh, thank you for this -- we have so little autumn here in southern California, and it's the only time of the year that I actually "miss" even as the sun shines. And thank you for that piece of music -- it made me cry and is just perfect.

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  17. I drink warm beverages like coffee (and occasionally tea) in the summer but the amount of cups per day spike this time of year. Which reminds me... time to make a cup.

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  18. Autumn as a season of longing...what a wonderful way of putting it...

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  19. Well if your weather is anything like ours in MA this morning you won't be waiting much longer. We were hitting the high 30's today which was a dramatic change from the 70's of the weekend :/

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  20. My favorite moment of this whole post is when the front tire of your bike parts the fallen leaves. That's just the kind of detail that takes me there with you, just the kind of detail that I'm experiencing here in Northern Minnesota, thousands of miles away.

    Saudaude? I want to hear it pronounced, so I'm off to Google translate!

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  21. Oops, sorry: saudade! Misspelled it before.

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  22. Many thanks fo ryour kind comments.

    Well, well, well, Mother Nature heard my complaints and since yesterday the scenery around me has changed drastically. The wind's picked up and today in the morning I noticed more leaves on the ground. The colours are changing, too. We're having some great, grey, dramatic sunsets now, too.

    That piece of music is one of the most sublimes melodies I've ever heard. And she plays it with such feeling! I'm glad you all liked it.

    Saudade is one of those words that defies translations. I wrote about it a few years ago and got an amazing response, especially from Portuguese-speakers.

    Have a great week.

    Greetings from London.

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  23. I love a Northern Hemisphere autumn. Don't have much of a leaf display in Australia. I love being in the gardens near Blackheath during autumn. Glorious.

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  24. I LOVE fall! I don't even mind winter, to be honest. The idea of cuddling up with a cup of hot chocolate and a book sounds heavenly to me. Interestingly, it's something I don't ever do. I drink hot chocolate while writing...and I read while walking on my treadmill!

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  25. I don't think autumn frowns on the earth - rather it is wildly exuberant with vivid colours and leaves! I do agree that it is a time of nostalgia also.

    Hope you find some autumn somewhere - maybe Hyde Park?

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  26. That is Hyde Park in the photo! :-)

    Autumn is here finally. Thanks for your comments.

    Greetings from London.

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