By Isabella @TheWandCarver
“To make a countryman understand what feuille-morte colour signifies, it may suffice to tell him, it is the colour of withered leaves in autumn. “
— John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690
My favourite time of the year – Autumn! And the trees are coming alive with colour, the freshness in the air signifies the Autumnal change from a fairly sweltering Summer. Funny how I would think the trees are coming ‘alive’ with colour when in fact, they are dying, the leaves are that is.… but I think that, in and of itself, has great significance to the time of year and its representation. We think of Autumn, being the time before Winter – when for many the world looks barren, plain, and dead – as the ‘old woman’ status of the world during the season. I rather think it more like the ‘late middle-aged woman’. She is still invigorating and colourful. She still has much to do and enjoys fun as much as the next. She dresses herself in bright colours – reds, purples, yellows, and feuille-morte: which in French literally means ‘dead leaf’ but think of the hues of those dead leaves! The colour name, feuille-morte refers specifically to a brownish-orange or yellowish-brown colour. I think that gives our late middle-aged season just that little bit more flair, don’t you? She deserves it.
Of course, the colourfulness of her dress does not completely cover the knowledge that she is dying. She knows it. We know it. But something we may not think about is that the sap is going to carry on rising within the tree just as the movement through Winter, or the ‘death’, is going to carry on shifting… until the Sun rises on Spring and the tiny green leaves will unfurl from the tree where the Autumn Crone enjoyed her last hurrah just months before. And she is reborn as a young Spring Maiden again with a pretty green frock and time to enjoy. One thing you can be assured of – her spirit never died. It has been there all along, resting up for her new adventure and her new youthfulness. And so, it is with us all.
I welcome comments and follows and always pleased when you share my writings. My heartfelt thanks to those who do so. Warmest blessings to all who wander this way. x