Autumn in France


Autumn has arrived

Autumn

I’m not sure which is my favorite season. There is nothing like the freshness of Spring with new plants sending out shoots of tender leaves and flowers budding with their promise of colorful flowers to come. Summer is great with warm temperatures that lure you outside, wonderful lunches and dinners outside on the terrace, just the well-being that comes with blue skies and sunshine. Even though a little sense of melancholy often tinges the arrival of Autumn, I do love it. I love the cool mornings and the evenings where you can leave the windows open at night as mother nature blows her cool air on you as you sleep. The chestnut trees seem to be the first trees in France to announce that a change of season is coming when their huge green leaves are ringed in brown which slowly moves inward toward the center of each leave. Eventually the leaves turn either golden or orange. Maurice get an a feeling of melancholy when the chestnuts themselves fall to the ground as this used to be a sign to him that it was time to return to boarding school. There are many pines here in the Luberon which remain green as do some of the oaks, but many trees become bare and many oaks are covered with brown leaves. I’ve left winter out. I love fresh snowfall, when I see it, and I enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace when the temperatures fall and the wind is blowing but I always anxiously await the coming Spring and the joy of getting outside again.
I recently read what I thought was a really good biography/memoir by a lady named Patricia Atkinson. The book is called The Ripening Sun and it is about how, after her husband bought a vineyard in France and basically abandoned her for various reasons, she goes on to make her vineyard and its wine a success and find a life she never dreamed of. I identify with her in many ways-the unexpected pleasure and joy of a life undreamed of before. In the front of her book is a wonderful poem that really speaks to me of the pleasure in the season of Autumn.

Autumn

I solitary court
The inspiring breeze, and meditate the book
Of Nature, ever open, aiming thence
Warm from the heart to learn the moral song
And, as I steal along the sunny wall,
Where autumn basks, with fruit empurpled deep,
My pleasing theme continual prompts my thought-

Presents the downy peach, the shining plum
With a fine bluish mist of animals
Clouded, the ruddy nectarine, and dark
Beneath his ample leaf the luscious fig,
The vine too here her curling tendrils shoots,
Hangs out her cluster glowing to the south,
And scarcely wishes for a warmer sky.

James Thomson 1700-1748