“The sun shone on the garden, thick with late summer flowers and early autumn blooms.”
Though most of the story of The Garden House takes place over summer, the book ends with the beginning of fall, and a sense of change. I imagine the main character, Miranda, strolling through her garden at this time of year, gathering a few autumn leaves that have fallen to the ground and clipping blooms for displays around her home.
She would use certain flowers and berries and turn them into wreaths,
or pair them with candles to create a cozy fall ambiance.
Most of the cut flowers would become arrangements that Miranda would place on bookshelves, counters, and tables throughout the house, with one special bouquet for the dining table.
I imagine her preparing one of her special meals for her children who would visit over the weekend, or perhaps her friends next door would stop by for dinner.
Miranda would add leaves and moss, or branches of berries and a few apples to the dining table to give it an autumnal feel.
And if the weather was mild, she would choose to have dinner under the trees on her beloved deck.
As the autumn days grew cooler, Miranda would take a moment in her garden to curl up on a bench with a shawl, or find just the right spot to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and good book.
The early days of September are tinged with soft shades of yellow and gold, full of warmth and sunlight. Pale or saturated, these tawny colors are the harbingers of autumn’s richer colors and cooler temperatures.
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” ― Jim Bishop
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” ― J.K. Rowling
“September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.” ― Alexander Theroux
Bronze, blonde, amber, honey, flaxen — now’s the time to enjoy September’s gold.
Yellow. The color of late September. Faded gold, gilded green, amber. In Central Park today, even the air appeared yellow as sunlight filtered through the thinning leaves. Throughout the park, yellow leaves lay scattered beneath the trees, on the roads, sidewalks, and grass. The day was unusually warm and the bright sun brought out the golden hues.
I strolled through one of my favorite walkways, a short path alongside a fence covered in a tangle of morning glories. The vines still showed pink and purple, with yellowed leaves mixed among the green.
Something caught my attention in the distance, and I had to stop and stare, puzzling out what I was seeing. A patch of air glittered among the yellow trees. I realized it was a shaft of sunlight shining on a spray of water from a sprinkler. Shadows boxed it in so that it looked like a square patch of sparkles hovering in the air.
Straggly clusters of flowers still showed a bit of color, as in the clouds of white that surrounded the elms.
And though most flowers now have woody stems and drooping leaves, there are still vibrant patches of color to be found, soaking up the warmth of late September.
The weather will change soon and cooler temperatures will bring about the more dramatic colors of autumn. Who knows? By next week touches of orange and red might tinge the trees. And September’s soft yellow will shift to the sharper, more vibrant yellow of October.
Autumn and poetry go hand in hand. There is something inherently nostalgic and meditative about this time of year that points the mind to introspection. End-of-year wistfulness mixes with the excitement of going back to school, crisper weather, and the coming holidays.
Some poems set this emotionally rich time of year against the splendor of fall, as in John Keats’s “To Autumn” — “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…”
and Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” — “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”
Other poems capture the elegiac melancholy of autumn, as in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Spring and Fall” to a young child:
MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
On these beautiful fall days, curl up with a good book on a mild September afternoon, or in the evenings that now descend earlier. Find a good poem and let the lines run through your head as you kick through the autumn leaves and take in this season of nostalgia, excitement, and beauty.