A Reflective Autumnal Journey…

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,

Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,

Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease.

William Shakespeare (Sonnet 97, 6-8)

Autumn, in her characteristic colourful cycle, is in full ochre bloom and bluster, with winter waiting conspicuously in the wings. Where has this year gone?

It has evaporated into time’s ether, barely noticeable under the weight of challenges this year has borne witness to. And, my dear reader, I guess you are also handling your own significant challenges. I hope you are safe and well.

I have been absent from my normal activities for a few months, a family crisis that, still unresolved, has totally derailed me; emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Suffice to say, that when a mother faces such a challenge involving one of her children it is no small thing. As a result, I had unintentionally put myself in the shadow side of Demeter’s archetypal shoes. She is one of the three vulnerable goddesses.

I plan to write about the archetypes of Greek mythology, it is a fascinating psychological subject. I have three main archetypes that affect my life: Artemis, Aphrodite and Demeter.

Gradually I have returned to a modicum of functioning, and a good measure of my recovery (apart from my family and friends), has been derived out in nature.

My garden in full autumnal swing!

My Acer tree is my pride and joy…
Autumnal canopy of our cherry tree

Normally playing my violin would offer substantial succour for such deeply felt pain, but unfortunately my violin bridge collapsed and other parts of my beloved instrument badly needed replacing as well. For a violin that’s over 120 years old, this maintenance and renovation has been 35 years overdue in my ownership!!

I’m not sure if that’s a metaphor for my life at the moment – I certainly have missed her shiny wooden curves and dulcet tones (when playing well at least). But there is hope on the horizon, for it is having a complete overhaul by one of the most talented restorers in the UK.

Hopefully I’ll be able to create a rich, melodic sound, (if I haven’t forgotten how to play in two months), even though my bank account will be much attenuated.

Taking up yoga and appreciating the raw beauty of my garden and going for walks have lifted my spirits a great deal.

I have written before about autumn – my favourite season despite my aversion to cold weather!

In the last few days of October last year, my best friend invited me away for a long weekend to her place in North Devon. It’s not an area I was particularly familiar with, (Cornwall has generally been my place of pilgrimage), but I found it lovely. I thought I would share some pictures of a trip Sophie and I made to the RHS Garden Rosemoor on a mild but wet and misty day. My retinas were overwhelmed by the colours and contrasts.

We also visited the home of Dartington Crystal, and consumed a hearty pub lunch after we spent an hour or two roaming around the stunningly wild coast of Hartland Point. Hartland was used as the coastal location of Manderley in the recent film based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel, Rebecca:

Of course photographs can never do justice compared to seeing such botanical wonders in the flesh, but it can at least give a sense of the beauty contained in a quiet valley of North Devon.

I have not written any poetry for some time, it has never been a talent of mine, but it is oddly cathartic and creative to let my mind wander in this direction whenever I think about nature.

AUTUMN

Autumn, how do I love thee?

Your fiery fronds set my soul ablaze,

Arresting russets warm and endow with glee,

Nature’s glorious demise unfolds in reddish haze.

From abundant harvest gifts – to empty trees,

Searing elemental forces, pre-empting winter’s freeze.

RHS Garden Rosemoor – October 2020

Autumn, how do I venerate thee?

Your vibrant leafy fireworks fail not to delight,

From summer’s warm embrace we flee,

Like aged leaves, pulled inexorably out of sight.

The eternal paradox of loss and gain,

Inner and outer landscapes stay not the same.

RHS Garden Rosemoor – October 2020

Autumn, how do I revere thee?

Your spectacular yield appears so fleeting,

A bounty beyond gold, behold – you will see,

Clothed for the season, secure sacred meeting!

Tread vivid crimson carpets; such preternatural hues,

Live and breathe the evanescent, intoxicating view.

RHS Garden Rosemoor – October 2020

“There is something so special in the early leaves drifting from the trees–as if we are all to be allowed a chance to peel, to refresh, to start again.”

Ruth Ahmed

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