Essays, Photography

The Autumn of our Lives

Fall…Or as we like to call it Autumn. The season of melancholy and contemplation. The liberator of the wool fabric and the redeemer of the tweed. Bring forth your cold and cover them with cloth. Cover them with layers and warm them up as they walk drudgingly along paths strewn with desiccated leaves.

It is the season which John Keats describes in his beautiful poem “To Autumn” as a “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. It is the shortest of all seasons. Tucked casually between the dying days of summer and heralding the start of the blistering cold. The blue sky of the summer metamorphoses into a crepuscular gray seeped in coldness. The plethora of gentry that used to jaunt about in the summer, still do so, but not with the same joy, but with a reserved trepidation. I relish these months of autumn. Autumn or fall, call it what you may, they signify the same thing. They signify the Manichean area between warmth and Cold, between good and evil, between life and death.

The autumn of our lives and the fall of the summer. Heralded by the skies, and mourned by the trees. As I parse the sight and sounds around me, I am stunned by the sudden burst of coruscating color. Red, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Sepia and green, all dance together in a medley of vibrancy seen in the foliage around. This is the perfect time for a drive out into the wilderness. The perfect opportunity to spend time with yourself, sipping on hot chocolate and pondering on your place in the grand scheme of things. The autumn of our lives…That phrase keeps coming back to me.

Our lives are forever at precarious stages. Each person is in transitionary place. We are experiencing change, change in our workplace, at school or in our relationships with those around. These changes are akin to the colors of the season. Some changes are positive, expressed by the still resilient green, but most are caught between stages of strong emotion, expressed with the blood colored maroon and red, and some are neutral, like the yellow and the sepia, and some are emotions of death, signified by the shriveled brown leaves. Colors are like mirrors into our souls. When we look at a color we can detect our emotions and our complexities. A cheerful person looking at blue sees hope and life, whereas a gloomy person sees darker colors like red, laterite and black and sees the dark corners of his heart. This season reflects all of this. Forever associated with lonely lovers and brooding poets, this season is all about knowing who we are. Knowing our place in people’s lives. However, our purpose should not be defined by others. Our dreams and our struggles are best known to us. Others may show a passing interest, but like everything others do, they are hoping that you present to them an apocopated version of it, short and easy to understand. We are our own guardians, our protectors and our own soldiers. Our battles cannot be fought by someone else; we need to develop the strength to do it on our own. When we find that the course of life is headed on the wrong path, we have to take the opportunity to turn it around. Be the captain of our own ship, be the change that you want to see in the world. Autumn is a grim reminder that if we do not change course, bitterness in form of winter is just around the corner.

I sit pensively in my backyard wrapped in the warmth of my thoughts. I find calmness in knowing that I am part of nature in its most seminal form. The autumnal wind blows heavily, like the speech of an elder, heavy and contrived. The geese scream loudly in the sky as they make their exodus towards warmer lands. I see families walking about hurriedly, huddled together, their steps crushing the leaves making an almost pleasant sound. The wind pierces and colors my face in shades of red. The grayish sky bleeds into colors of red and black. As I watch the “last oozing hours by hours” the world continues, and life moves on, and the approaching night reminds me of the purpose of our lives, our struggles and our emotions…The autumn of our lives, the shield given to us, when we fall down. All we have to do, is get right back up.
 

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