Buffalo Point is a special place for me. At no time is it more special than autumn. It is always a sad time. I know what is coming and I resist the march of time. Toward winter and toward death. In the back yard (which is really the front since it faces the lake) which is where we spend most of our time, facing the lake, often on the deck, I looked around. I saw rotting trees. Is that bad? Is rot bad? No. Forests must rot. If the trees did not die we would soon be choked out. That would not work. Just like the planet would be overrun if we did not die. In this world, death is necessary? I don’t know about the next. That is why old men must move on and should not hang around too long.
I am like that old poplar. It no longer has leaves. I don’t have much hair left. Old is good. Someone once said, “No wise man ever wants to be any younger than he is.” Obviously, he was not a wise man. The tree had a hole near the top. To me it looked like a woodpecker had drilled a hole in the rotten tree looking for bugs to eat. The hole may be used by another bird as a nest next year. This old tree is still of use. So are old men. Of little use not much more than that. Not the same use they once had, but different. Still important. Old men need to impart what they have learned. What else is a long life for? In this day- and-age old men sometimes resort to blogging to try in their small way to give a flavour of what they have learned or think they have learned.
Albert Camus, one of my favourite writers and philosophers captured what I think about autumn– “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Delia Owens, who wrote Where the Crawdads Sing said “Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.” I would say they don’t so much soar as meander. Maybe that is because I no longer soar, if I ever did. But I sure can meander.
Jane Hirshfield, the author of The Heat of Autumn said, “The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.” That applies to me too. I find apples too acidic, perhaps because I have acid reflux problems. Life is never simple for an old man, but an old man can enjoy simple pleasures, like an autumn stroll in the woods.
Elizabeth Barrett Browing once said, “Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound.” Imagine that. How can you hymn an autumn sound? I wish I could do that.
George Eliot said, in autumn the still melancholy could make “life and nature harmonize.” I actually think that can be done at any time, but since autumn is my favorite season, why not reserve it for autumn.
The American poet e. e. cummings put his thoughts into a form that an old man can understand: “”A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.” It is clear I too have known autumn. Sadly so.
One of my favourite writers, Wallace Stegner, who wrote one of the best Canadian books ever, Wolf Willow, also said it well, “”Another fall, another turned page…” It was time to head out to our deck and turn another page of a good book.