Beauty, Culture, Quote of the Day

To Autumn, 2022

File:Autumn (Boston Public Library).jpgToday, September 22, 2022, is the first day of 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 bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies–John Keats
Ah.  It’s beautiful around here.  Cooler.  Drier.  Crisper.  I will think about what that means.  And:
  • I shall feast on local apples.  I visited Brown’s orchard in MacDonald PA a few days ago and picked up a couple of bushels, mostly for pies, but some eating apples as well.
  • I shall visit, in my heart, if not my person, ancestors’ graves.  And ponder this most recent awful September which is riddled with bad memories.  It seems, the older I get, the more there are certain stretches of the year that are infested with catastrophe.  March…May…July…September…..
  • I shall celebrate with cake.  Not “moon cakes” which are the Asian seasonal celebratory sweet, but sponge cake with whipped cream and raspberries.  Cake is cake, right?  And that’s what I have.
  • I shall eat nuts.  I love nuts.  And at the moment, I have some glazed pecans and some unsalted cashews to enjoy.  I will not (as another tradition dictates I should) enjoy a fattened goose prepared in some sort of culinary atrocity.  While I’m usually happy to eat meat and poultry, I simply won’t eat anyone I know.  So that’s that.
  • I shall, virtually, visit Stonehenge and dance naked, widdershins around the standing stones at midnight
  • And in my imagination, I’ll visit the Mayan city of Chichen Itza and watch the snake appear.

I have no idea how many of those things Keats, in his very English appreciation of all things Autumn, could have envisaged.

But I’m glad the third season of the calendar year is finally here.  And that Fall Festivals, Harvest Festivals, Oktoberfests, Lantern Festivals, Thanksgiving, and many other autumnal celebrations are just around the corner.

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