I often wish that I was an artist, someone who could pick up the artist’s palette and brushes, mix the paints to the right hue and then transport the image in front of me on to the empty canvas. That wish could not have been more in my longing than this year as I frequently travelled through Tunstall Forest to Orford village on the Suffolk coast. On either side of the road there was a swathe of colour from the verge to the treetops. A dull vista of burnt copper and orange mingling with the ruby reds, rustic golds and light primrose yellows.
On a sunny day the colours on one side of the road would be darkened by the shade, whereas the opposite side would be a blaze of light transforming the dullness to a breath-taking brilliance. However, I am not an artist and can only marvel at the changing seasons through the year, from the dull greys and browns of winter to the new light greens of the spring and the beauty of the English summer.
Life is about seasons and because we are individually unique our seasons will differ accordingly. I love the splendour of the autumn, whereas someone else might look forward to and enjoy one of the other seasons. For myself winter is a tough season. I look forward to 21st December when the days start lengthening out. By the end of February, we can enjoy having afternoon tea in daylight. The highlight for me in the summer is the long light evenings. I can qualify my love of the autumn with the sobering thought that each day brings winter nearer. Isn’t that the reality of life? Each season has its highs and lows, its joys and disappointments. Sometimes we can anticipate something, only to be disappointed because it doesn’t materialise. We could say that what we were looking forward to has been spoilt in much the same way as lack of rain preceding the autumn spoils the array of colours that makes the scene so beautiful.
Disappointment gives us a challenge. We could go on about it or choose not to be consumed by it. After all, there will be another autumn to look forward to, albeit preceded by a cold difficult winter. A defeatist attitude is not helpful. It is more important to focus on another vision, which hopefully will result in uplift not only of ourselves, but those we mix with. The end of autumn can leave us tinged with sadness. If we walk or ride more slowly, or even stop, we will become aware of what we’ve missed out on during the autumn and summer months. The fullness of the verges, thick hedgerows and canopies of leaves above us will have obscured the view beyond. We will be able to see the sky, dappled sunshine lighting up the forest floor, the fields on the other side of the hedges and a panoramic view of the landscape on the other side of a copse or row of trees. It’s so easy to forget that we could get taken up with what’s in front of us and forget that there are new things to enjoy as the fullness of something disappears and invites us to look around and keep on walking.