I am definitely not a pessimist. However, curiously enough, it is spring, not autumn that makes me sad. Spring has always been identified with youth, and the sorrows of youth are poignant and bitter. The daisies, the orchids and daffodils which challenge so bravely our boisterous and unpredictable March are soon shrivelled and defeated reminding us of the inevitable ravages of time. The world yearns for bursting life but it is only an impetuous beauty of the senses, just a passionate creation of transitory delight before summer settles in.
In contrast, autumn imposes serenity. The heat, the dryness and humidity of our long summer melt into a warm contented loveliness. The early morning chill after a terribly hot summer is so invigorating even though, in Cyprus, it still mingles with the lingering warmth of summer days. I am still in summer clothes, most probably till the end of October, but I love that light woollie early in the morning and in the cool autumnal evenings. The air becomes alive with the freshness of a sun-dried garden.
The whole world soaks in colour. Not the reds, yellows or blues of spring! Autumn takes all the colours of spring and softens them to amazing shades of purple, crimson, bronze, amber and mahogany. I may not hear the crunch and rustle of golden leaves with every step I make, but I delight in the rich, new tones of nature while corn-stacks crouch above the stubble gleaming deep yellow in the intense sunlight of October.
As the evenings draw in, in October ,I can still enjoy dinner outdoors unless there is one of those terrible autumnal storms, like yesterday. Last night, Alkis and I enjoyed a candle-lit take-away dinner in the kitchen while listening to the pouring rain. The strong autumnal winds and the sudden electrical storm cut off tree branches which fell on the electric wire which supplies our building with electricity. It took the Electricity Authority hours to replace the wire in the middle of a dark stormy night. But that was the most romantic dinner I've ever had with Alkis. The wind passed and the thunderbolt gave way to billowing clouds condensing into rain, which fell all night with quiet persistance.
When the intricate patterns of branches thread again the sky and the winds veer to east and south, I am deeply aware that the death of Mother Nature is close at hand. Shelterless in cold winds, many birds will die unprotected. Countless animals and insects will freeze or starve while we relax in comfortable homes. Yet these deaths are an integral part of Nature's self-renewal and, I'm afraid, the new spring will not live up to our expectations: it will bring unstable weather, allergies for me and that sickly tiredness that accompanies the end of winter.
Autumn promises the ideal spring.