It is cold today and the skies are that strange mixture of low cloud and fleeting patches of azure that say, quite clearly, that the beauty that was summer is gone, remaining only in faded roses and memory. There is a soft sadness in the air, a wistfulness for the brightness of the sun that is now veiled, present but invisible, beyond warmth.
It seems as if the change came all at once. One day skies of clearest blue, the next the wind rushed in, ushering low clouds before it, making it difficult even to stand on a hilltop that still wears the fading summer gown of wildflowers and the first fruits of autumn, leeching the brightness of the colour from the landscape and shrouding it in grey.
The wheel of time turns, moving inexorably towards the long, slow sleep of winter, when bones feel brittle as twigs in the cold and the days seem too short for the memory of warmer times to play on their canvas.
A long, cold winter is forecast and it would be easy to simply plod through it, looking forward to a brighter spring to come. However, I have been talking to my son as we embark on the long process of writing his story. He reminded me of a day when, after months stuck in a hospital bed, he had watched the rain batter against the windows and longed to be able to be outside. It mattered not at all that he would be chilled, wet, uncomfortable… he simply longed to feel the touch of rain on his skin.
I thought about that on the hilltop, leaning against the wind, buffeted, cold and blown, breath snatched from me and hair whipping my face. I looked out across the wide and beautiful landscape, seeing the hills and the chalk, the neat fields and tame hedgerows. I thought of the purple blaze of wild heather upon which my soul has so recently fed and the green haze of the woods in which I had walked in the morning.
Even as the first breath of winter chill creeps across the threshold of autumn and the face of the world changes, the love I have for this land burns brighter than the sun. There is no dividing line between north and south, no boundary between east and west; the earth beneath my feet knows no distance, the sky holds all of earth in a single embrace. There is only here and now.
I am only here and now. Yesterday I was, and tomorrow is a becoming. But today, right now, I am… I can feel the touch of autumn and the shadow of winter holds the seeds of all the summers to come. So I shall drink their presence with every raindrop, their mystery with every snowflake that will fall and hear them whisper their promises in the winds.
Ah, my Belovéd, fill the Cup that clears
Today of past Regrets and future Fears:
Tomorrow!–Why, Tomorrow I may be Myself
with Yesterday’s Sev’n thousand Years.