Here in Britland it’s that time of year again – a time when the fruits of the harvest make an appearance, the leaves on the trees change their palette and begin to fall, the nights draw in and thoughts turn to hearty, comforting meals, packing away summer clothes and preparing for grey days and cold nights. Autumn is here and, for once it’s at the right time of year!
Is Autumn my favourite season? i’m not sure – i’m tempted to say yes, but then again, there’s something enervating about the chill of winter that’s hard not to like; spring is a special time with a great deal to commend it and summer, of course, is everybody’s favourite. Even so, autumn always feels special to me – maybe it’s memories of picking blackberries, sloes and cobnuts from the hedgerows and gathering prickle-cased chestnuts from their bed of rustling fallen leaves, or perhaps it’s that low-in-the-sky last rays of a departing summer sun casting its warmth over that moment between daylight and the sort of dusk you just don’t see during the rest of the year – this time of year has it’s own magical quality about it. Keats summed it up perfectly in his poem, ‘To Autumn’:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To me, it’s the most pastoral of the seasons, invoking a sense of the countryside and nature, even for city-closeted dwellers like myself – a time for reflecting on the long, languid days of summer, (yes, we did indeed have those, this year), and to prepare for the coming cold.
It’s possible that some of the allure of autumn is purely aesthetic. Who can fail to be stirred by the colours, sounds and smells of autumn? It’s a time for those captivated by light and colour to revel in – the greens of summer giving way to the more earthy and rich colours of the the harvest season.
It’s also a time of year that sl captures perfectly – it may seem an odd thing to say, but the virtual world can do a remarkable job when it comes to mirroring the real one, particularly at this time of year, and inworld we seem to rise to the occasion in grand fashion. In fact, this is pretty much the start of one long round of festivities and celebration that stretches from now right into next year – somehow we seem far more adept at enjoying feast days, festivals and festivities in the virtual world than in real life!
As the days draw in, out there in reality land, we see a corresponding change inworld – trees change to autumn hues and blankets of russet leafy textures carpet the pixel earth; pumpkins make an early appearance, as do apple carts, haywains and cornucopias in every corner. Then – as October steals onwards – a pumpkin explosion heralds Halloween and the ghostly goings-on that accompany it. Then it seems just a short hop to Thanksgiving, and a good old-fashioned snow-filled, Dickensian, Christmas.
At the risk of becoming unduly maudlin and viewing sl through decidedly rose-tinted monitors, it does seem to me that – as with so many things – sl seems to do real life so much better sometimes than rl manages to do itself. Is it that the freedom to express our feelings which sl affords allows the idealised picture we all have of the real world – tucked somewhere deep in our subconscious – to be made real, albeit in colours and pixels? Is that why sl summers are always longer, sunnier and so much better than in real life, and the winter snows are always so much more deep, and crisp, and even than those we experience in the real world?
Perhaps, but it’s not such a bad thing, if you ask me!
Personally, i enjoy the seasons in both worlds and you can bet that i’ll be making the most of this autumn both inworld and out!
The falling leaves
Drift by my window.
The falling leaves of red and gold.
Eva Cassidy – Autumn Leaves