The View from Here: autumn in a bottle

I’d like to bottle this autumn and bring it out to smell and savour whenever I need to stop and slow down and remember all that is good in this world.

It has been a languorous autumn.  Long, slow and peaceful.  Bright, crisp, sunny days only occasionally demarcated by a grey no-weather day or a day of relentless rain.  Frosty mornings.  Stunningly beautiful star-spangled velvet skies.  Enormous silver moons and once – as I toiled up the drive having forgotten to put the rubbish out before dusk fell – a brilliant flash across the heavens as a single shooting star streaked through the darkness.  It was worth forgetting the rubbish.

The darkness stands out for me as our first autumn here draws to a close.  Here is inky blackness unadulterated by streetlights or distant towns.  It’s so rich, so thick; it feels like black molasses. I can almost touch it, almost taste it.  And the stars have been mesmerizing.

As have the leaves.


What we have not had is wind.  This has been an autumn of calm.  Leaf drop has been late in coming and long-lasting.  A single overnight storm raged – when winds and rain battered the land and whipped around the house screaming like murderous banshees.  It brought us sleeplessness but left us leaves on the trees.


It has been a magnificent autumn. I’d like to bottle this autumn and bring it out to smell and savour whenever I need to stop and slow down and remember all that is good in this world.

But now it is over.  Many years ago, I came across a gardeners’ calendar which neatly aligns the months and the seasons.  September is early autumn; October mid-autumn and November late-autumn.  December, with its yuletide anticipation, simply cannot fall into autumn regardless of the equinox.  December brings us early winter, and advent, and endings.  December is something different entirely.

So before I lose autumn to the bliss of Christmas, I’ll pause – and blog it instead.

A walk in Cardinham Woods

And I’m thankful – since I can’t bottle it – that this autumn has been captured for me by Robert Frost.


O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.






25 thoughts on “The View from Here: autumn in a bottle”

  1. It has been a truly lovely Autumn, hasn’t it? And your post is so evocative of the colours and scents of the season. I note that you, like me, seem to be settled in front of the woodburner now the winter is making its presence felt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the calm and stillness of your post, to match your feelings about the season, which I share – we have been truly blessed with beauty all around over the last couple of months. A welcome contrast to events happening in the world. And that poem – oh my – I held my breath while reading it and am still captivated by its wonder – thank you so much for all of these riches, Sandra 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your pastoral verse is evocative, I forest green with envy. To an American ear, there are phrases one does not come across on this side of the pond. “Leaf drop” caught my ear. When I consulted the Google, it crops up more as a horticultural term. I kinda love it and will be appropriating without proper credit henceforth.

    Your Frost poem is lovely. Having just survived American Thanksgiving (not to be ever confused with Canadian Thanksgiving, which I only assume is joyful with family members saying “I’m sorry” because that’s what they do in Canada) the Frost poem that was ringing in my ears was “The Death of a Hired Man” in which Frost states, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there/They have to take you in”.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. It drives me crazy I can’t edit my inarticulate posts after noticing typos in the first four words. Perhaps the only thing more irritating is the fact I post comments without proofreading them. Cheers, Jon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Jon, I understand so well! Why do we always notice the typos just as the comment becomes permanent! No matter, I knew what you meant and appreciate you taking the time to comment at all. (And for directing me to the poem from which that famous line is taken. I’d never read it before. One to take some time over I think 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The Death of a Hired Man” is Frost at perhaps his frostiest. In someways it is the antithesis of the beautiful tableau October presents. Except, perhaps for the fact that even in October, the specter of death is waiting in the wings as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I know that feeling of wanting to bottle each season, especially in such a lovely location. (That’s how I felt about the Geneva area) Thank you for sharing with us, pictures, poem, feeling and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. [D] That’s wonderful, Sandra! In Uist, Late autumn and now the start of winter have been similarly kind, and also gale-free! One difference, though, has to do with trees and leaves. We do have trees and leaves, especially in our garden, but they are hardly a major feature of the landscape!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, I imagine that the few trees with the temerity to grow in Uist are like our hawthorns on the coast – growing hunched over in the direction of the prevailing winds!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. [D] We do have hawthorn here, but they are generally in gardens – very rarely in the wild. We planted a lot on our croft: we lost a lot, but found to our surprise that those that survive are extremely tenacious. J is wanting to do some photos – probably next summer – showing the progress of our (very modest) tree planting.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, how I envy your velvet black skies, spangled by the light of stars and unadulterated by man’s progress.
    And how beautiful Venus has been, cradled in the arms of the waning moon.
    Now is the time to stand and stare…..


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pat, I couldn’t imagine the skies being darker than in Mixbury. After all, no street lights there either! But Man’s reach is within sight there. Here we are protected. And yes – I’ve stood outside many a time this autumn, a small witness to the heavens 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. What a beautiful, evocative post! Autumn is my favorite time of year and you’ve captured it perfectly. Your photos are fantastic!

    Liked by 3 people

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