5 May 2009


The liquidamber dressed in her autumn finery.

Scattered with maple leaves
Where no one stepped
My garden path is better left unswept.

Kawahigashi,Hekigodo 1873 - 1937
The first frosts of the year creep up on us. We're just begining to think that summer's going to last forever, when woosh - here it is - autumn.

I love to set aside time for autumn walks of discovery, especially after the first rains. We love studying the colours of the turning leaves, the way one side of a tree turns red, while the other side fades into yellow. We love the way the claret ash outside my window now changes colour from the top down, the red merging into the green. We love the beginning of new growth, of the mushrooms and other fungi pushing through the ground.

We rotate our home's interiors based on the Japanese aesthetic concept called shun - seasonality. When a new season arrives - according to the weather, not the calendar - we change our seasonal displays and our decorations. We bring large branches of autumn leaves into our home and plan our decoration around their myriad of colours. We bring out the cushions of angora in shades of brown and beige, and store the red silk ones that have graced our sofas and chairs. We change the summer obis that decorate our tables and tansu cupboards for ones of maple leaves in restful shades. In this way we feel as sense of tranquility - of a natural quiet harmony with our Creator. He brings us peace.

Piles of golden autumnal obis await their seasonal resting places.

Autumn is a time of abundance in our garden too. It brings harvests of rocket and coriander. It signals the end of the basil season and we spend hours picking bunches of fragrant herbs to make into pesto to freeze for the cold months of winter. The green tomatoes become chutney.

We cook up delicious mushrooms with butter and garlic and smother them onto sourdough toast. It is funny how much better mushrooms taste when they're picked straight from your own land.

Autumn for us is a time of reflection and assessment.

Our God is good.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
Daniel 2:21

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