tiny stories of autumn

Oh come the winds and sharp flowers over icy breasts of the world. Come winter! I'm worn out by the heat. I want my blankets back again, my slippers, my gingerbread. I want the big squelchy months of comfort and rain-soaked dreams.

I went for a rambling drive yesterday through leafy suburbs I barely knew existed nearby. Their soft English trees were turning red and gold, and it gave me such heart. Autumn is here - I can be sure of it now. All I'd had to inform me thus far was a subtle change in the texture of the wind, the bloat of the moon. The pine trees along my regular ways aren't good harbingers of seasonal changes.

It has made me think how, when we don't often travel far afield, we may have to depend on subtleties to tell us about the world, just like if we only read one news source. It's possible of course - after all, I knew it was autumn from signs in the sky. I'm sure those who live close to the land can read a hundred little stories of light and grass in their home valley or on their hill which tell them how the weather is changing. But what about the people who don't look out? The busy suburban people driving around in cars, not even keeping a garden. How will they know to start airing blankets and winter sheets? To start stocking their pantry with soup?

Of course, civilisation is set up so they don't have to care. Seems to me that's not a good thing. If you don't know nature, if you barely even look at it (except for the views) how can you love and protect it? How can you truly feel that you are in the world?

Perhaps there lies the key. Perhaps people don't want be in the world. Instead, they want to live in a luminous, comfortable, plastic dream. In it, they can forget more easily about the frightening aspects of being a creature of nature. Our own winters, our own falling leaves.

I love this beautiful song, Wild Mountain Thyme, by Ed Sheeran.


  1. Dearest Sarah, what a sweet joy to my heart to find myself on your blog...I have been so busy as of late that my blog visiting has been put on the back burner. I have missed you, friend.

    Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for the gracious words on my blog about loveliness. Oh, how you brought a smile to my face and a song to my heart. I could say the very same about you, dear one. You are special, indeed.

    Have a lovely weekend. Hugs to you!

  2. Oh Sarah, I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is a clear tendency in our culture towards convenience over connection. To our detriment we have exploited nature and dismissed tradition--the very root of who we are and why we exist. I am grateful for my quiet life here in this old New England town, but I also long to live even more quietly and wonder if I could do it. Could I manage without electricity and central heating? Could I let go of the illusion of modernity and immerse myself in the reality of nature--in the natural rhythm of waking and sleeping (we just turned our clocks to "Daylight Savings Time" last weekend--ugh! I've been dragging all week)? Could I grow enough food to live an hour or more from a store? What would such a life be like?

    Wild Mountain Thyme is one of my all-time favorite songs. My favorite version is The Corries. You can watch them perform it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVQkdV4GwLc


    1. Susanest, I believe you could live like that. I did, when I had my little old cottage on an island. I was more than an hour's boat ride from civilisation. And I had scant idea of how to look after myself in such conditions, yet I did. Given another chance to do so, I think I'd manage very comfortably, now that I'm older and more adventurous.

      Of course, I live in a temperate climate. I don't know how I'd fare without electricity in a snow storm! But I imagine with a fire and a few blankets, some soup and homemade bread, it would be possible - after all, people have been doing it for many thousands of years.

      Thank you for the link to another version of that song. I shall go listen now. Many hugs to you my friend.

  3. Beautiful. I love to observe the subtle changes around me, noticing one season shifting into another. And autumn is so lovely. Sometimes I want a house of my own, so I can develop roots and stay in one place. To have a garden. I miss the country a bit, of where I grew up because I knew it better and it was easier to listen to it, to understand it. It had a wildness, a contrast between light and dark that I long for. I feel a bit strange here in a new place, but it's wonderful too. And right now it's the best option for my husband and I. Wishing you a beautiful cool new season, full of gentle rain :)

    1. I would like a house of my own so as to go deep into one place, but then I would probably want to roam too :-) I hope you do come to truly love your new country.

  4. what a terrifying and quite possibly correct idea--- that people prefer the "plastic dream" life to the real thing...ugh.

    i'll take real, raw nature any day, please and thank you. even though i am a creature of the hearthside, mainly, and very fond of my comforts. but i'd rather have bears and wolves and all wild things than a sterilized, human-centric environment, which offers an illusion of safety at huge cost, instead of the certainty of life and death in a dear, wild, ancient matrix...

    i know what you mean about pines. there is a thing i've noticed, though: they smell different in different weathers and seasons, if there is a large enough group of them especially. i love that i can say such a thing to you, and know that you will understand. if i say these things to most people, i get a blank look and an "oh, really?" before they go back to ordering starbucks on their phones...

    i love the japanese way of having many 'micro-seasons', and changing ornaments and textiles etc to follow them. i think we die a little daily when cut off from nature...

    1. I agree with you here. And oh, how wonderful about the pines! I am delighted to learn this. I haven't lived amongst a community of trees for such a long time ... in my previous house we had some, but not pines ... I have to go all the way back to my old city to remember living amongst trees. I will make an effort to visit pines and breathe in their seasonal fragrance. Thank you :-)