Sunday, 2 October 2011

What We Need, What We Want

Anyone who has read any of the beautiful books by Sarah Ban Breathnach, particularly Simple Abundance will know that she is a firm believer that what we have is what we need. sometimes we just need to look a bit harder to see it. The past few days have been gloriously sunny and warm, very un-autumnal altogether, and much more summery than our actual summer was. It actually reached twenty eight degrees here today!

Even before this beautiful Indian summer, I had heard whisperings from people that we are going to have a hard winter. The weather forecasters' predictions are being backed up by abundant berries on bush and tree...which made me wonder, is nature giving us what we need (the sunny weather) instead of what we want (it to be autumnally crisp!) ahead of the cold winter that is coming? One of my favourite poems is Autumn Day by Rilke:

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows, 
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days, 
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press 
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone, 
will sit, read, write long letters through the 
and wander the boulevards, up and down, 
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

There are many translations, but this is my favourite. The lines 'grant them a few more warm transparent the final sweetness into the wine' seem so appropriate for these first days of October. October is one of my favourite months. As the days pass, autumn seems to creep in silently at first and then take command. Leaves fall, mists wreathe the fields and at the end of the month the clocks go back. It is near enough to Christmas to start making little preparations in earnest, but not so close it feels frantic. We always hold our annual pumpkin carving brunch club, and it is the weather for hot apple cider and any number of pumpkin recipes.

So while I am more than ready for the weather to turn a little crisper and cooler and more typical of autumn, it has also been lovely to make the most of the sunshine. I have been trying to look at it as what I need rather than what I want. A lot of other families had the same idea, and the park was full. Luckily it is so huge that there is more than room for everybody. We spent the afternoon breathing in the air and sitting in the shade reading. I took a book and a magazine, and Carl took his new Kindle! His friends at work had a collection for him, and that is what they bought him. On one hand I am so pleased that they got him something and clearly had a lot in the collection, but the other hand...a Kindle?! Eek! I am trying to ignore it! We sat and read and people watched which was really rather a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Really, it could have been August! In the background, we could hear the odd whinny from a horse, as there were carriage rides around the park grounds. This evening back at home we have heard the Cathedral bells ringing out at practise. As I washed up earlier, the sky once again turned the most fabulous shade of bright blue, with a bright sliver of silver moon glimmering brightly in the middle. The silver of the moon makes me think of the silver frosts to come, and if it is going to be a hard winter, then I will need to make some preparations. I don't have a lot of cupboard space, but I think some extra tins, packets of tea bags, bread mix and so on would be a good idea, and I will be buying some milk for the freezer too. Did I mention that our landlord won't let us put up curtains? We just have wooden slatted blinds, so I need to think of some ways of keeping the flat nice and toasty too, although happily I do have some tricks in mind!

Wherever you are, I hope the sun is shining on you, and you have all you need, and all you want.


1 comment:

Hausfrau said...

What a delightful, and timely, post! The weather has been much the same here, and I've been having similar feelings about it. I've decided to take advantage of the sun while it's showing itself so brightly and so often, as I know the cooler and grayer weather will be here all-too soon!