Sunday, 28 October 2012

First Snow

   I have been studying the leaves each day, keeping extensive mental lists of their progress and where around town the brightest and most beautiful colours can be found.  Since my last post, things have come a long way, and this has been the most brilliantly-coloured autumn I have experienced since moving to Europe.  My research has determined that, objectively speaking (of course), last Friday was the most beautiful day of the year.

On that day the leaves reached their peak, the sky was opalescent, and what is more, on that day the first snow fell.

   On that day too, two storytellers arrived from Poland to perform at an event my husband had organized.  Our morning was a blur of cooking and vacuuming and the fluffing of pillows, while flurries of snow whipped past the windows.  Later in the day, we ventured out to show the town to our guests, and I was sort of dumbstruck by the beauty of the day, trying to etch on my mind the exact colours and how the light fell, wanting desperately to understand how to paint out the spell of autumn and winter colliding.

 Just before the sun finally set we were walking along the river, where the trees glowed in the brightest hues of yellow and orange over the dark water, and from somewhere at the back of all of the layers of foggy sky a very pale peach colour glowed quietly beyond wet branches, until a person could cry from looking at it.  I am not sure, but I think this fact was largely overlooked as people hurried about, hoods pulled up and heads bent down.

When we lived in Japan, one thing I loved was the way people appreciated the turning leaves.  It is impossible to get a hotel room in certain Japanese cities in autumn because of the crowds of people that flock to them if they are considered to be exceptional places to admire leaves.  On the evening news there is a nightly update on how far the autumn-leaf-front has advanced, as the season makes its way southward across the country.  Yesterday night, standing in the park and watching a maple glowing in the dusk, we spoke about that.  I was thinking too about how after the leaves fall there, there are the bare persimmon trees that hold onto their bright orange fruit all winter.

   In a few days time, a friend from Japan is coming for a short visit, so we will get to look at Scotland through her eyes for a couple of days.

The clocks went back one hour last night, and suddenly the sun sets at four thirty in the afternoon again.  Around 4 am this morning a multitude of fireworks went off in the street outside our bedroom window.  Watching the glow from them on the ceiling, my sleepy mind decided that they were not really fireworks, but the sputtering of time as it adjusted to the clocks going backwards, just a few little jolts as time shifted tracks.


  1. oh, you make me never, ever, want to put my head down, no matter how cold or miserable the weather is! you have such an eye for calling out the magic, visits here are immense!
    thank you!

  2. I could practically smell those wet trees through your description, feel the bite of the cold, yet be softened by the patch of fuzzy peach in the sky... What a treat this post was, especially as it brought the distant horizon of space in nature, how I long, now, to take a walk in the woods.
    Once upon a time in Hong Kong, a certain day was so cold that some trees iced over, and people flocked to the New Territories and picked up ice-covered twigs, carrying them as if they could bring them home and keep them forever.
    And just a quick P.S. about Japan, I have a friend from college who does performance art in Tokyo, wouldn't it be fascinating if it turns out we know some of the same people. Wishing you a fun week of sightseeing your place of residence with your friend!

  3. Thank YOU Zoe, your comment is so sweet! (And do always keep your head up... It's not just a saying for old people!)

    Kata, I hope you do get to take a lovely forest walk... I'm so glad that my post made you feel all that. What you said happened once upon a time in Hong Kong sounds like a beautiful fable... and so perfect for this season where everything in nature seems to slip through our fingers so quickly.
    My friend doesn't do performance art (at least, she never mentioned it...) but that would have been amazing! Thanks though, and I hope that you are having a lovely week, whatever you get up to!

  4. This post is perfect. I think maybe my favourite post I have read anywhere all year, or maybe, in fact, ever.


    Thank you.

  5. Hasn't it been a glowing autumn. I, too, am someone who can be stopped in her tracks by beauty; whose eyes smart with tears at its poignant transience.
    I love your long skeins of geese, stitching the sky.

  6. Ciara, thank you very much for your very kind comment, I am so flattered. I probably have the silliest grin now. Thanks again!

    Dancingbeastie, it has been wonderful this autumn. I would have never doubted for an instant that you would be one of those who would fully appreciate it!! Thank you for stopping by... I saw your adorable puppy in your post the other day, so I imagine he'll be keeping you pretty busy!