The last time I saw Autumn…

The seasons are beginning to turn again. Mornings are chilly and the late Summer mists have come to Stutterheim. I watch the swallows patching up their nest and wonder how much longer they’ll be here. Soon it will be Autumn.

Autumn is the last season that got lost along the way in changing back and forth between south to north. The first was Spring. I left the south in crisp mid-Winter and went to late Summer there, and then Autumn and the Winter. No wonder, looking back, the Spring was so, so precious when it finally came. Autumn was lost in my return. I’ve never been a huge fan of Autumn. The end of Summer, the cold’s return. But you get to missing it, when it’s been such a while.

Morning spider-webs outlined in late Summer dew, beads of glistening beauty strung between the branches. Autumn. The last time I saw Autumn, it was pretty spectacular. The colours of Autumn are beautiful in places with summer forests. The leaves all change at the same time. I spent many weekend days visiting parks and places full of autumn colours. The reds and yellows and oranges were so much more spectacular than I had known before. More trees, more trees turning at exactly the same time. It was a sight to see. And colder, more quickly. Colder than some winters here.

The last time I saw Autumn feels like a lifetime ago. Who was it who talked about the idea of the double joy of the travel itself and remembering the travel later? I’m finally far enough away to remember without the bitterness and the homesickness, perhaps with rose-coloured glasses. This new Autumn that is beginning, will never match up to that one, that time, that place.

Summer is so precious here. This past Summer has been one of such joy – the hot, dry summer, the perfect beaches, the summer thunderstorms, the joy of Africa. The Winters I love will always be white-dry grass, frosty mornings and red, red aloes. But Autumn belongs to Korea. To bossum and buying warm coats and hiking boots and tree-covered hills and the slanting light of the setting sun through oranges and reds and yellows at Duryu Park.

Autumn comes slowly, gently to South Africa. Colours change in fits and starts, some trees rushing ahead, others still finding their colour by the time winter is half over. It’s still pretty and its coming brings the circle to a close for me. Autumn is always a time of endings, of contemplation. My Autumns are now a time of memories, of taking out my year abroad and polishing it up and revisiting the pictures and the words and putting it away again, in perspective; an important, if difficult, time, a year of autumn leaves and icy days and snow and new friends, a home I can return to in my mind. A home I carry with me and remember, especially for Autumn.