Saturday, March 07, 2009

'The trees are in their autumn beauty...'

Those are the first words of my favourite poet, William Butler Yeats' 'Wild Swans at Coole', which first enthralled me in high school, then in my first year at Rhodes. Those words always come to haunt me every autumn as the leaves start turning, as the wind begins to whisper of change and as the sky's summer blue makes an initially hardly noticeable transition to cobalt, all heralding winter in the south.

Lying on a blanket at the bottom of my garden, writing my morning pages and having quiet time I had a suprise visit from a yellowed, velvet soft leave from the peach tree above. In that moment a life time of autumns fluttered past my eyes: army days, walking with Linda Marais in the park at Albert's Farm, Hampstead Heath, Emmarentia Dam, Grahamstown, Nature's Valley, Nieu Bethesda (contemplating the end of a relationship), Easter time in Philipollis and then Port Elizabeth, also Schoenmakerskop... walks along the ocean with my long hair tousled, salt air on my lips, in my eys, gulped deliciously deep into my melancholy lungs.

All of that memory, and much more, was released through the frail but beautiful yellow leaf on my page. My life. And to know I'm going to die in my eightieth year... to happily know.
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