Ella Boxall pens her thoughts.
Saying goodbye to summer is one of the hardest moments in the year for me. The world reluctantly slinks away from glorious sunshine, hours spent lazing under a blissful sun, and afternoons made of smiles and laughter. We begin to look towards an endless stretch of frozen days and dark, oppressive nights. Our summer skies of blue and gold and dazzling white are suddenly shrouded in suffocating, heavy blackness. The tender caress of summer warmth runs from a bitter, frigid winter air.
I have always struggled to not criminalise the invasion of autumn and winter. For me, waking up to a warm, sunny morning immediately boosts my daily positivity. The constant haze of winter darkness wreaks havoc on my mental health.
For me, summer is a symbol of togetherness. A time when community is at its strongest and every day is fuelled with fun and entertainment. Its end is a tragic moment of gutting separation as families and friends move away to tackle a new year. Autumn is the death of all that lush greenery, the end of reading outdoors and languorous evening walks. And most unfortunately, it is the beginning of the insufferable cult fascination with the Pumpkin Spiced Latte; a fad that makes my body shudder.
This year however, I feel that I need a mental transformation. Instead of grieving the loss of one season, perhaps it is time to find beauty in the seemingly ugly and repelling.
(A Change of Seasons painting by Ken Figurski)
Rather than mourning the loss of nature’s brilliance, admiring its transformation seems much more productive. I think it is easy for us to see the changing seasons as somewhat depressing. The vibrant explosion of colour and life during the summertime holds such a wondrous beauty. Yet, there is something to be said about the delicacy of autumn. I had always viewed the autumnal decay of plant life to be a disgusting transformation from flourishment to death. Fallen leaves were simply rotting masses of festering mulch. Eventually, trees that were once blossoming with life, become skeletal and deformed. Not to mention, the freezing, masochistic temperatures that come with this visual change.
The changes of autumn though, can be mesmerising and enchanting. The world is suddenly set alight in bursts of gold and red and flaming orange. Nature moves from a tranquil state of lethargy to striking and brilliant in colour and texture. The soft beauty of summer is addictive, but the crisp, delicacy introduced through autumn can be just as refreshing.
And even though we say farewell to summer bliss, there is still so much to look forward to in winter. With cold, rainy days comes cosy, festive nights. Our world is simply displaying its ability to metamorphose, to prepare for new creation and beauty to come once more. A brilliant metaphor for life really, that good things are never lost forever.
We have all been victim to a gag-worthy Pinterest motivational quote at some point. We have all heard ‘the seasons change yet so do we’. But it is true that summer will come again in every state of glory and magnificence that it was before. In order for us to get to it, we must learn to handle more challenging aspects of our lives.
So when I sit at my desk and glare towards a completely dark sky at only four o’clock in the evening, I want to remember that in the eternal gloom, there are stars that glitter and gleam in the abyss. Autumn and winter can also be beautiful.
You just have to take the time to stop and see it.
Words: Ella Boxall Photo Credit: Ken Figurski