After the rain the sky gradually clears leaving hill hugging mists like slow, ghostly rivers. Then there are those windswept days, with ribbons of clouds sweeping across the sky, and the sun casting its long shadows, sensuously sculpting the mountains' forms.

Or their silhouettes subdued by magnificent, violet or 'electric', cerlulean, blue shades of reflected light (Maxwell blue).
Autumn always evokes reflection and nostalgia, and the 'end', in its characteristic crescendo.

The termination of Nature's patient work, from young shoots, new leaves, sweet blossom, to the final fruit of her year's effort. It beautifully displays the magical effects of opposing colours, and in contrast to spring it appears to represent the dying embers of life heralding death.

The mirror of polarity, when green turns to red, when colour reaches its third and final stage, of transparent golds and even delicate silver tints from the synthesis of green and red violet. A magic so fleeting that it subtly reminds us of the ephemerality of life.

The glorious colours of autumn sometimes seem to veil the interim months of the year, simply by so vividly bringing back to mind those of the previous autumn. One is sometimes left slightly confused. Is time so fleeting as to dismiss a whole year so easily? Could it be because the lazy days of summer are comparatively long and immutable, before we are once more taken aback by this spectacular, culminate display?

The 1st of November, 'All Saint's Day'. As in France this day is a bank holiday, it's the French custom, especially for villagers, to take flowers to the graves of their deceased relatives, rather than do this the following day, Défunts, when the Catholics officially commemorate the deceased. The flowers that bloom at this time of year are of course Chrysthanthemums. Originally golden, (Gr. chrys) it's the November birth flower. It symbolises the sun, longevity and spiritual immortality. It also represents perfection, happiness, optimism and truth. Confucius regarded this flower particularly suitable for meditation.

Paying such homage is an endearing custom for those who cherish the memory of loved ones. To remember the good times, perhaps leaving the less good more deeply buried and forgotten.
In northern Europe, graves might now be regarded as extravagant, or urban impossibilities that belong to the past, and endearingly old, village Church cemeteries.


But to look up at an autumnal sky, or gaze at the sea on a calm evening, or admire the mountains lit by the last rays of the sun, is more than enough to evoke sweet memories, and see in one's mind those wonderful smiles again.

Text and images © Mirino. November, 2011

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