Though the days turn cold and the night draws in, we should not mourn; this time of year is full of richnesses and new beginnings too
So, after a late short blaze of summer, autumn is here. The leaves are turning, the blackberries are mostly eaten. So much of our approach to the season in literature and music has a dying fall: “Nothing gold can stay”, as Robert Frost put it. Not that summer was especially golden in the UK this year. Many, deprived of the long warm days of beach-going and picnics they had hoped for, feel it never happened at all. And now there is a rising drumroll of warning about winter infection rates, NHS overwhelm and rocketing heating costs.
True, the swifts are leaving, and geese honk across the sky. The mornings are darker and evenings shorter – one definition of autumn is that it begins on the equinox, 21 September, when dark and light are equal; another is based on average temperature, and kicks the season off on 1 September – but a flock of swallows waiting for the signal to go is a wonderful thing. And other birds, including knots, waxwings, fieldfares, light-bellied brent geese and redwings are just arriving.