Which is all about an Indian Summer

Indian summer
  1. a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn.
    • a period of happiness or success occurring late in life. Dictionary .com

Other than a week in May, and some days in July, it was a grey summer. So on a wet, grey, Monday morning I packed my summer clothes for the winter. Then this morning, I watched as a handful of leaves dropped to the floor; marvelling that I had the leisure to do so while realising that this bitter-sweet summer is ending.

The crown of a distant sycamore is turning yellow, while the lower canopies of those closest to me remain green. A weeping willow yellows in a nearby gardens, the crab apples and hawthorn berries are scarlet; while the pines and evergreens are wreathed in a morning mist that hopefully mean late-summer- sun, warmth and a spectacular sunset like last night’s.  And I wonder at our ability to inject emotion and meaning into plant and cellular activity, and the combination of weather factors, and the turning of the seasons.

The last days of  my husband’s life were days of golden sunrises, ferocious orange sunsets and the clearest – the most beautiful –  of night skies where it was possible to see the Milky Way.  There was even a brief roll of green light along a hillside a lucky glimpse of an aurora. I remember thinking it was if the earth was raging in a Dylan Thomas-esque way, and that the sun burned as if it were the end of something – and it was. But seasons still turned: it rained, it snowed, the frosts were harsh and the sun continued to rise and set and there were glimpses of beauty.

Consequently, I love an Indian summer – the last fierce blaze of colour and warmth –  before the earth closes in and we hibernate or go to work, ‘like pit ponies,’ as my aunt says,  ‘always in the dark.’ An Indian summer offers promise, that no matter how grey it was before before, the ‘after’ holds promise. Then the clock falls back an hour, we draw the curtains and enjoy the warmth of the fire with the smell of coal and woodsmoke. We wait for the joy of Christmas, the celebrations of warmth and light and then have to hold on in February and March for it all to begin again.

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