A bit over a week ago I did the first of my local cemetery walks; I did my second one today and found that there is tangible sense of change in the air, the sense of something on the threshold – that something being winter. The most noticeable difference was the amount of leaves on the trees; although some of the sycamores and limes still have half or more of theirs on the branches, others have lost most or nearly all. The rowans are mostly bare and their berries have turned to orange or dull red from their vivid scarlet prime. And although there are still splashes of colour in some of the trees I got a feeling of autumn having made its big show a week or so ago and now backing down to usher in the winter. It was colder and the dominant colours were green and brown, not yellow and copper.
This is the big change for me; not so much the transition from light to dark, although that does have an effect, but the leaching away of colour. What I discovered in March and May of this year is that for me there are two significant points in spring: the first is the changing of the clocks at the end of March which signals longer days and more daylight. In previous years this had coincided with my mood lifting and so I thought that this was all I needed to turn the corner, but this year the clocks changed and I didn’t. I was confused, I started to wonder if this was more than winter blues or if there was some physical health problem that was dragging me down. Eventually, at the beginning of May when still nothing had changed I went to see my GP. He was fairly sure it was a mood problem but agreed to do some blood tests to exclude anything physical and asked me to come back in a couple of weeks. During that two weeks the other significant event occurred – the trees and plants started to bud and everything was suddenly flushed with green. By the time of my second appointment I was fine. I had never understood the importance of the greening of my environment before, it took a particularly late spring to help me see this.
So this is the real turning point for me. The clocks have gone back, the days are shorter and autumn is fading but I am hopeful and finding plenty to enjoy. Yesterday I was with friends and we had a fire and fireworks, then went indoors, lit candles and drank ale and calvados while we chewed the fat. I had a strong feeling of what the Danes call hygge (more of which later). Winter is on the threshold and this year I will let it in.
Below are photos from today’s cemetery walk to compare with the first ones https://wintermoodproject.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/marking-time/ The loss of leaves and colour is very noticeable and the cemetery chapel is slowly being revealed.