I visit you, like I do in the spring. Like I do in the summer. It should be harder in the spring, when the world is green and new again. Or in summer, when the earth turns warm with the promise of happy days and long nights enjoyed with loved ones. Yet it is in autumn that I find it hardest to leave you. Autumn is a beginning all of its own, one of change and excitement. If spring is a slow unfurling of life and limbs, then autumn is a jump out of bed. It is happy chaos and fresh starts. I want to do the things we always did in the autumn. Celebrate your birthday. Plan healthy eating regimes we won’t stick to. Drink coffee spiced with cinnamon and begin to plan Christmas presents. I want to moan that I’m too warm in the late September sun, while you agree it’s impossible to know what to wear. We will discuss layers. You’ll cook dinner and I’ll pretend to help, drinking the white wine you always had waiting for me.
Those are the autumns of the past.
I still enjoy the leaves turning to copper and gold. I still drink my pumpkin spiced coffee. I still, in my own way, celebrate your birthday. Except now there is a before. The autumn that exists now, is the after. The colours aren’t quite as beautiful, and the ghosts and pumpkins aren’t quite as friendly. I visit you and sometimes I weep.
Forever caught between rejoicing at the autumns we had, and mourning what will never be.
It is comforting that almost everything in my world will begin to change, to transform in front of my eyes; to know that nature and life will once again revert to what it was and that there is no real end, just a cycle.
I think of Kavanagh describing a place where “old ghosts meet” in “On Raglan Road”. The thought of us meeting once more, transformed just like the leaves, two old but happy ghosts, is the only comfort I can find.