Today has been more of this, particularly reflective for me as I’ve spent much of it on Sarah’s autumnal allotment, itself changing and gently decaying now, long past the summer’s end as the year’s light declines.
The light this afternoon being that particularly sharp, low in the sky light, that comes on sunny days just before we turn the clocks back.
All the colours sharp like they’ve been turned up to maximum on some celestial control.
The garden going quietly to seed at the same time as next springtime’s magnolia blossoms wait patiently in their calyx. I walk around photographing the meaning of life. The joy and inevitability of the passing of time. The necessity of change, die-back and decay so that new growth, new life might take its own place, in turn, in its own time.
This many autumns into my own life I experience its beauty acutely. Knowing I have seen more of them than I have left to see. And at peace with this certainty.
“When right here, right now,
In this perfect light in this perfect place
And knowing it full well as I take this photograph,
I am completely happy.
Not wanting to be anywhere else
I am close enough to touch the meaning of my life.
Which is be, here, now.”
Out of recent darkness, into perfect light. Be, here, now.
I’d been sat on the wall in Sefton Park reading this earlier when a bee came and landed on the corner of the page. Getting warm, I think, in the reflected sunlight. The bees slowing down now as the light declines and the year grows colder. Every time I turned the page the bee would lift itself briefly into the air and then settle again on the new page while I read on. Twenty or so times this must have happened until it was time for me to walk on. At which point the bee was happy to be settled on the sunny wall.
Ready for winter. Ready for spring. Perfect.
I called this “Change and Decay” because it fitted with the autumn and what I wanted to talk about. But also because Sarah was walking around her allotment quietly saying “Change and decay.” What I didn’t realise, non-believer me, until I showed her the finished thing was that she was quoting her favourite hymn “Abide with me”
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me”