the softness of autumn
Seen while cycling through the valley ...
Wild white jasmine on the fence above a river
Clematis unexpectedly amongst a neighbour's lavender
Banks of long grass glimmering with clover and dandelion
A secret grass path winding through flowering bushes and trees
Swans on an old pond
I thought they were going to destroy the wetlands, reclaim the land for factories. But it turns out they were expanding them. Sometimes people are surprising in the nicest way.
I love how autumn teaches me every year about the value of softness. It gives me wisdom such as soft moons like the big old swaying hip of the sky, ambling up amongst mist-plushed stars ... leaf-thickened paths ... soft blankets brought out from storage and layered on beds ... cosy slippers ... soft eyes and voices in nights that are candelit for no other reason than the gentle loveliness of candles' light. Of course, we need the shutters put up and the old fences bulwarked in preparation for winter, but just as much we need the softness inside. The old goddess stories remind us - Brigid within the Cailleach, a lush, warm seed brimming over with dreams of roses, deep in the heart of thin pale days scratched by bare branches and rain. And the old fairy tales remind us too - the disenfranchised ash girl saved by love rather than revenge; love and roses in the Beast's dark house; the huntsman's tender-hearted reprive. So often the greatest strength, and the best source for endurance, comes from softness.
art by dutch illustrator rie cramer