Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Fall for Greenville

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells."
(John Keats (1795-1821 'Ode to Autumn')

As a rule, I am not a fan of poetry; I just don't 'get' it. Generally, it is overly verbose and self-indulgent. I much prefer a good book. However, I make an exception when it come to Keats. To be fair, the only reason this poet has ever figured on my radar is because I was taught it very well at school by a great teacher (Mr Leach for all my NULS friends out there!!) who, through careful diligence, helped us work through each line, making sense of the complicated narrative.

And boy, am I pleased he did, for the full poem is quite beautiful, encapsulating the magic and fecundity of the harvest season. As soon as September comes round and the shiny green leaves begin to tinge with oranges and browns and the sun lowers in the sky, I recall the poem and marvel at how timeless and perfect it is.

Now, I fear that I have been brewing this post for too long; I first had the idea for it about 3-4 weeks ago on a dog walk in the park when autumn was certainly at it's peak. But I had no camera with me, so the beauty is just in my mind now, sorry. The idea has been brewing for so long, I am afraid it has stewed, as where there were once vibrant reds, ochres and crisp leaves underfoot, there is now just mush and a general brownness to the park. But hey ho, I have a 4 month old baby to work in to my blogging schedule and sometimes she wins the fight! I will post it anyway even though the pictures are not as pretty as they once were.

The synopsis is that Greenville, SC was certainly not ill-named; it is a lush and handsome city that benefits from oodles of sunshine and regular rain showers leaving the parks and countryside fresh and green, not burnt and desert-like despite temps nearing 100 F at the height of summer. But without doubt, it is at it's most majestic in autumn, or fall as it is known here (a typically American no-nonsense name. Leaves 'fall', let's call the season Fall!)

Just as Keats describes in his poem above, autumn is defined here by mists, maturing sunshine, warm days and a plentiful harvest.

As the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words, so I will stop rabbiting on and show you what I see every day on my treasured dog walks.

(This isn't very autumnal, just a cute squirrel!)

Last one now, I promise!

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