Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn’s Splendour

Running the waterfront trail along the bay in Belleville, I stopped briefly to take in the view. My eyes were drawn to the new colours emerging on the leaves of the large oak trees, which then drew my gaze to the sun and the reflection it created off of the harbor, which finally drew my gaze to the Bay Bridge, that conduit that connects Quinte to The County. Many boats were out on The Bay this day taking advantage of these last few days of summer. This reminded me that fall, my favourite time of year, is here.

Many years ago, I moved out to British Columbia where I lived on the coast for 14 years. It is a beautiful part of our country, the ocean is awe-inspiring, the mountains are overwhelming and the people are generously friendly. All that was missing for me was the seasons. Typically, it felt like spring all year round. When planning a visit ‘home’ to Ontario, I generally booked a flight at the end of summer so I could catch some of the brilliant fall weather.

During one of my visits home, I met for lunch with an art teacher of mine that I had managed to keep in touch with over the years. He asked me what I missed about Ontario and I told him fall. I missed the beautiful change in colour that Ontario experiences, the cool crisp air and walking in the countryside crunching fall leaves under foot. Shortly after my return to B.C., I received a package in the mail from this teacher. It was full of colourful dry fall leaves which I immediately took outside, dispersed on the ground and proceeded to step on one-by-one enjoying that familiar missed crunching sound.

A few years ago, I returned to make Ontario my home again. Each year since my return, during the end of summer and beginning of fall, my excitement returns and is stronger than ever. My appreciation for fall is deeper. The feeling is similar to the stomach rolling excitement you have as a child on those few days just before the new school year begins.
Fall is full of comfort for me. It is that gorgeous time of year when I leave a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove, pull on my favourite wool sweater and ready myself for an afternoon hike, excitedly anticipating the colourful changing scenery. Upon stepping out, I breathe deep enjoying the crisp feel to the air known only to this time of year; that sweet smell of rain still trapped within the leaves on the ground. Time appears to slow as I enjoy an afternoon walk, taking in nature busying itself with winter preparations; nuts are littering the ground, squirrels are building a cache of supplies, trees are changing their foliage to rich orange, copper, gold and glowing shades of rust. Autumn’s splendour.

Returning home, I enjoy my well deserved harvest supper. Afterwards, I help myself to a hot cup of cider, grab my book and settle in by the fire for a night of cozy reading. My Great Aunt Emma used to request I read to her when her eyes began to fail. Each time I visited her school books from her days at the Plainfield single room school house would be out. One of the books stood out as special, worn and well used; it was the Ontario Readers Second Book in which she would request I turn to the poem September by Helen Hunt Jackson. Although she could recite this poem word for word all these many years later, she enjoyed hearing it aloud. I would start with the first line “The golden rod is yellow”, and she would join in for the rest. This stanza was most treasured;

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.


Take comfort in this fall.

Janet Jarrell

Article published in County and Quinte Living

4 comments:

  1. Congrats on the article. Nice job.

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  2. Nice post. I love fall even more than summer. Living in Arizona, the summers are far too long. The fall brings a welcome relief from the summer heat.

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  3. What a beautiful post. My mother grew up in Eastern Ontario, just inside the QC-On border. We now live in Kitchener, and the weather and the leaves change at Kingston.
    We didn't make it down to Eastern Ontario this year at Thanksgiving. I missed it.

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  4. Thank you, thank you and thank you.

    I would never have known the leaves change at Kingston...makes me appreciate things more.

    Although most of the leaves have fallen now, I am still glorified by this season.

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