I have just spent an hour clearing up a whole load of mess that didn’t even belong to me. It was fly tipped on to my property, with no regard for my personal space. There are no reprimands to be given, no fines to be doled out, because the culprit is Autumn.
Autumn came late. We were ready for her, but she took her time. Then she arrived in all her glory, like a starlet arriving late to a party, in the most exquisite dress you have ever seen. A mixture of crimson and green, woven together with a golden thread. She brought a chill that doesn’t freeze you – it just wakes you up a little after the dozy warmth of Summer and makes your senses feel alive. Dusty cobwebs were brushed off trusted wellie boots and you discovered that none of them any longer fit.
The leaves fell on plants that were still flowering from Summer, but Autumn didn’t care and nor did we. We just admired the clash of colours that bright pink geranium petals made with oak and sycamore. We scoffed at the red and white cyclamen for sale in hanging baskets that were being touted as a winter treat. Winter? We laughed that two season’s flowers are company, but three would be a crowd.
We didn’t laugh for long, as Winter came. Snow up North? Even the newspapers couldn’t keep up with the chameleon that was the seasons. We scraped the ice from the car in clear view of the huge, pink and purple flowers of the clematis that adorned the trellis and shook our heads in disbelief. Nothing seemed to make sense this year: the garden was merely reflecting political uncertainties. We jumped in the chilly car and carried on.
As I picked up the rubbish that Autumn has left behind this morning, I thought about how things do just carry on. Eventually, time took the edge off the beauty of Autumn. It’s left me with a garden full of leaves, when I don’t even have trees of my own. I want to tidy up before the icy grip of Winter takes hold, but I am looking at Summer flowers and I’m not sure if I can cut them down. Confusion in both the garden and the globe. What is going to happen in our children’s future, if there is so much confusion now? How much time and effort should we be putting in to worry?
I pick the rake back up and carry on. Dead leaves, mixed with empty crisp packets and some wrappers that the wind has thrown in. I tie the spoils of Autumn up in a large, black sack and I leave the flowers of Summer, wondering how long they can last.