Saturday, 6 November 2010

From the Independent: The sad beauty of Autumn

An interesting article from one of our most avowedly secular broadsheet newspapers:

[...] for anyone in the slightest way alive to the rhythms of the natural world and its sights and sounds and smells, autumn has a peculiar personality of its own which is powerfully attractive. Most obviously, the world rebeautifies itself: the autumn foliage becomes resplendent. I've never heard anyone remark on quite how curious this phenomenon is, in biological terms, given everything negative we know about ageing.

The leaves of trees are welcome and wonderful in their green iridescence when they burst out in April, but by June their bloom is gone, and by August they're plain dull. With most life forms, that would be it. We could expect no more. Instead, by a pure accident of organic chemistry, leaves are reborn, as they start to die, in an astonishing range of colours that puts their spring birth to shame.

It's as if they have another spring in another palette, the second one even more vibrant than the first: terracotta, russet, bronze, purple, gold. Even that subtlest of shades, old gold – gold with a burnished look, gold with a tiny hint of red, almost the quintessential autumn colour (look at Stourhead in Wiltshire, pictured opposite).

And this is decay. This is the winding-down of everything, towards death. Yet the great gift of autumn is that the beginning of the end doesn't feel like decay, at least on the surface, it doesn't feel like a crumbling and a rottening and a collapse from within; it feels like the arrival of a world of new sensations. Read more

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  1. We have a leave which has four colours in it as it changed. Fantastic.
    My daughter said today 'then it must be old, no offense' I replied age my dear is wisdom and beauty, it is to be respected and loved not considered offensive.
    This is such a beautiful article, A keepsake for sure - well done and thanks for posting

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