Autumn memories

I feel that when something ends a new thing is always born. I love autumn because in that announced death there is peace. (Manuel Julià).

Autumn brings us closer to the cold winter, that subtle change in the sunset light, the chills produced by that slight blow of cold wind that shakes the trees that start to change their leaf color… small hints in the surroundings that announce the flow of the days.

It always seemed to me a very suggestive, beautiful and evocative season. I write these lines on a sad, gray, stormy, windy Sunday afternoon in which the light devastates my vitality, my memory and my enthusiasm… Autumn produces uneasiness that filters through any loophole, as a wind that whistles mysteriously and takes over everything. Sounds that don’t even kneel down to death. A strange afternoon, full of insecurities, also of opportunities, but with an emotion and a necessity of observing the most common: that afternoon light entering through the window, the singing of birds, the fall of leaves, the company and the warmth of the people who are no longer there. In the beginning my thoughts weren’t ordered inside my mind, ephemeral memories of distant times slipped through some window, of what I once was, memories with family friends… faces that left, others disappeared through the path and others so distant in the past that no longer sadden me but are part of what my existence was.

I left home, far away from my town, walking along a path that led to the forest, walking aimlessly, abstracted, barely noticing the cawing of crows, or the tolling of the bells that resounded from the top of the church throughout the mountains…

The wind carried by a slight rain hit my face but I didn’t care. Wrapped in the scent of the forest, of the ground soaked by rain mixed with the release of spores of certain types of fungi and accompanied by the call of the robin and the nuthatch, I arrived at the river poplar. The branches of the poplars were flushing from the evening chill. From the distance came the sound of the shearing of some flock of sheep that had not yet left in transhumance, and when they do, the mountains will remain alone and quiet throughout the winter, waiting for the arrival of spring.

I walked on a blanket of withered leaves that rustled as I passed, while in the distance, a thick blanket of snow concealed the peaks that with the wrinkled gray of the sky showed the true face of autumn, stripped of ornaments and gladly surrendered to the barren winter. On the same riverbank, red poplars, yellow poplars and orange maple trees appeared where the color of their leaves were like a melancholic farewell to the long summer days to remind us that the dark and cold winter lurked around the corner. Walking through these places being surrounded by this clean and fresh autumnal atmosphere gave me a feeling of harmony and seclusion. A time where silence and color won the battle over my concerns.

The wind started to blow with more strength and my thoughts flew to another autumn, in my grandparents’ house, where the trembling hands of my grandmother stirred the pulp of the quince that was boiling in a large pot, this together with the chestnuts on the fire and the dried fruits filled the room with a special smell. Her old age gave a warm serenity that surrounded my youth with love. That was her last autumn, but not that of my grandfather, with whom I could still enjoy eleven more autumns in the heat of the fire listening to stories of past times.

And it’s true that with autumn melancholy always arrives, and next to the fall of the leaves that leave the trees naked feelings of sadness awake, a feeling which one learns to make them happy and enjoying.

In those days I need to write with more vehemence on the paper memories of yesterday, like the one that comes up to my memory now, in which a clear and luminous autumn day with an intense activity of white clouds over the blue sky, I was in the park next to my parents, with my long gray coat that doesn’t exist in my wardrobe anymore, trying to catch some pigeons, while they were happy to see me, with those faces of eternal happiness that I can now only see in photographs already yellowed and worn out by the years.

But this time melancholy barely hurts my emotions, because after the passing of autumns, I walk stronger, with new dreams in my pocket, with a new coat of a different color.

While the day is falling and a blanket of fog covers all of my surroundings, I look at the red sky that seems to reflect the warm tones of the top of the trees. An owl hoots deep in the woods. The barking of the dogs, the smell of burning wood and the bellowing of the cows in the stables remind me that it is time to go back to the house, to close the windows and to look for a corner to sit by the fire. Looking at the crackling of the flames, my thoughts fly back to those years of my childhood, this time to my uncles’ house, it is the month of November, the harvest of the olives that they prepare them freshly harvested, later loaded with a cart pulled by a mule, going to sell them in the nearby towns, that smell that they gave off in the house mixed with that of the beans and the bales of straw piled up in the barn always bring me back the nostalgia of those bygone years.

Fog makes time go slower. When one wakes up isolated from the rest of the world through shreds of dense mist, he has the feeling that life has stopped. Silence reverberates in the ears, the rush stops and nothing is contemplated from melancholy. The mists of autumn, in definitive, return us to an ancient time in which silence wins the game over noise and introspection supersedes the perpetual and somewhat crazy movement that is the sign of our time. (Borja Olaizola).
Stripped of their leaves in the fall, the trees show naked silhouettes of striking force in winter. For centuries they have endured the winds and snows, and they are still there as if nothing had happened.

And that’s how, slowly and without noticing, winter comes. Looking through the window my heart seems to shut down while I am invaded by a dense fog loaded again with childhood nostalgia. This time my memories go back to my school, a winter afternoon, where scant and dim light that sadly entered through the windows bathed the teacher’s table and some desks. When I close my eyes I still perceive the smell of books, the teacher writing on the blackboard, the sound of the bell … that school that saw me grow and taught me the meaning of life.

He regresado a mi viejo hogar
y he ido a mis montañas queridas.
Ya va llegando el otoño,
las hojas van cayendo lentas
como si estuvieran cansadas.
El cielo esta azul, de un añil profundo suave,
la temperatura va cambiando.
De la lejanía llega a intervalos
el mugido de reses que pastan en el campo.
Las hojas de verde azulado, grises, amarillas,
caen y un dulce silencio nos rodea,
sólo roto por unas abejas tardías
que zumban sobre las flores ya marchitas.
El paisaje ligeramente ondulado,
los árboles erguidos frente al aire
sutil fino y transparente.
Todo es severidad y grandiosidad,
el tiempo se va deslizando
en silencio, entre montañas grises
que pronto se cubrirán de nieve.
Pasan las horas, los minutos, segundos
y me siento diferente interiormente.
La luz, el color, los ruidos, el canto de los pájaros,
todo es especial en este tiempo.
Los años van pasando sobre mi
y extraño aquel paisaje,
tan bello, natural, con su aire sutil y fresco.
Y siento dentro de mi,
un dolor por lo perdido,
que se que nunca más va a volver
en mi vida ( Renė León).

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