The sun sends out its welcome beams of light and warmth, warmer than I expected, as I set out for a morning walk. It is very quiet, no dog walkers, the traffic light, everything holding stillness for this while. Except for the birds who are hidden in leafy surrounds, chirping, making plans, exchanging observations on the day and the new season. Do they know it is the first day of Autumn?
The days are perceptively shorter. We rise in the dark now and dark descends too soon after dinner, it seems. But today, after the early morning clouds melted away, a golden light makes the sky appear an even brighter blue, a huge blue bowl that does not hover and limit sight, but stretches to infinity and makes all things feel possible. What a relief after days and days of heavy smoke-choked sky and lowering clouds with no silver lining.
Birds are gathering on the tops of trees, fluttering and circling, settling, then calling and unsettling again. They are restless, testing their wings, and uncertain. Is it time? Not yet, not quite. How will they know the moment when their flying will take on purpose and the migration begin?
I keep walking, scanning the ground for colored leaves, acorns still clinging to their caps, and if I look in the right places, chestnut conkers, gorgeous deep-brown, shiny orbs shaped perfectly to hold in my hand and rub with my palms. I plan to fill small bowls with them to create my Autumn tableau of treasures. But I am too early; they are not ready for collecting, not yet ripe and freed from their spiky cases. Only a few trees have begun to turn from green to gold and red and brown. Still, I do glean some leaves, a beginning. It’s just the first day, I must be patient though I long for a change. The turning of the season, a closing and an opening.
Ah, but some creatures are well aware of the passage of time. The garden spiders are busy, their webs more elaborate and visible. They are now fully grown and mature, ready to mate and produce eggs that they will bundle into a silken sac that will protect the tiny spiderlings until next spring’s warmth. Then the cycle will begin anew with the tiny spiders growing, shedding their exoskeletons for new roomer ones, busy with life, until we again see them as mature beings, urgent with the need to keep the generations coming. Be kind to their webs, let them fulfill their destiny.
Let Autumn come and be welcome.