Sunday 22 December 2013

the abacus of the days

The autumn comes as a thief,
creeping in when our backs are turned.
An icy wind blows through the stillness. A gilded leaf,
clings to a silver birch; holding, hanging, hugging.
But then falling nevertheless,
spinning back to the cradle of the earth.

The autumn lingers, coming a little
further each morning.

Up on the hillside, grass
is dry, ferns tarnished, and berries sour.
A flock grazes an ever decreasing pasture; soon the shepherd
will come to bring them in for winter.

All the while, you are as the late afternoon sun;
though growing lower in the sky with the passing of each day,
Never do you falter nor let your fire grow cold.

The autumn withdraws.

Too soon, the sun slips beyond the distant hillside
and we are left in the shadow filled valley.
Yet even now, the warmth of your rays
lingers on our cheeks,
going with us into the night.

In early Autumn 2009, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer of the pancrease. Sadly two days before Christmas, she lost her short, but bravely fought battle with the disease. Tonight, as I write this entry, I still can't quite believe that already four years have past.
The final time I saw her was in September, on one of the last glorious burst of sunshine before the Summer lead us into Autumn and then towards Winter. The next day, I returned here to France to experience my first Pyrenean autumn. Everybody told me that the Pyrenees are at their most beautiful in the Autumn. And they were right. Every day, the beauty that the changing of the seasons brought to the mountains grew more and more breathtaking.

It seems so ironic now, when I think back to that period of my life. Living in a place where life is so deeply intertwined with the rhythm of the seasons, and all the while I was blissfully unaware of just how keenly I would later feel the abacus of the days...

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