Autumn amazement

It’s been a while!

Apologies for my absence from blogging, the last few weeks have seen the final days of the life of my ninety-nine year old mother-in-law, and then several relatives stayed with us while we celebrated her funeral. Her dying was not unexpected, she had been becoming increasingly frail over the last few months, eating very little, and we knew her days were shortening. We will miss her feisty and courageous strength which endured for nearly a hundred years.

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The season is changing in the garden too. A glorious fanfare of stunning colour heralds the departure of tumbling leaves as they loose their hold on the tossing branches. Autumn can be brilliant, but inevitably speaks to us of endings, and lengthening nights, a darkening and a chill.

Mary Oliver captures it so well in her poem “When Death Comes”

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

– Mary Oliver

So even as the evenings draw in this autumn, and the days turn grey and wet, let’s stay “married to amazement” and celebrate the season with courage and joy.


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