It is raining cats and dogs, and a whole lot of other animals. I have donned the local national costume, a waterproof windbreaker and ditto gore-tex- coordinated pants and boots, and am not in the least bothered by the zoology falling from the sky.
I have been working all morning, so being outdoors, giving fingers and mind a deserved break and the rest of my system both some elbow- and knee-room, feels great. When you’re hibernating indoors, days like this might seem dull and grey. Once, however, you’ve made it over the sometimes seemingly insurmountable threshold between the dry, comfortable, but at times stifling indoors and an occasionally wet, but always very much alive, potent outdoors, a feeling of wellbeing seldom eludes you.
Lady Autumn has already been at it for several days, with her gentle brush applying to the tips of the foliage an assortment of warm, glowing yellows. Going about her business when the nights are cold and we snuggle warm in our beds, sleeping, dreaming, enjoying bliss or fighting battles. Her palette is not in any way inferior to that of the Ladies of Spring and Summer. Even though the colors tend to be somewhat more modest and subdued, their range is just as striking.
The moors boldly display an assortment of yellows, oranges, browns and reds, in a combination that in any other setting than the natural would have been vulgar. Here the impression is one of flames dancing through the slender grass.
On drier ground are the fairly pale blueberries, with their ferociously purple juice making up for their skin’s modesty by generously staining anything and anyone they make contact with. Their sweetness caressing lips and taste buds, tempting a lone wanderer to make frequent stops.
As do the intensely red cranberries decorating anthills and other berry hospitable little mounds. Contrasting in color and taste to their blue sisters, deliciously sour as they are. Bushes of wild, tender raspberries along the path and on open patches in the forest beckon me to stop as well, the luscious pulp melting to share delight on my tongue.
Anyone dedicating a little bit of time and patience these days could greatly increase their food- mineral- and vitamin supply for the coming winter. I curb my gathering instincts, however, and limit myself to indulging in the delicacies along my way a few minutes here and a few more minutes there.
Some summer flowers; bluebells, daisies, Meadow Salifies (or Aster), tiny potentillas…, all set apart by their intense colors, resiliently hang on by share joie de vivre, not inclined to succumb to the telltale signs of changing seasons.
The remaining wildlife are “making their beds” in different ways for the long rest. Animals and birds gather food, go into hiding or flee to milder, more forgiving realms, followed by a lot of sun deprived tame life… Vegetation slows and eventually shuts down her processes, preparing for what is to come.
Soon King winter will tuck plants and trees in a thick, soft duvet. His white embrace protecting everything from severe, destructive colds, until spring appears singing and tap dancing on the scene. Its enthusiasm and energizing powers reviving even the most sluggish of people and animals, creating and enabling new life, new summers, new beginnings.