Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beautiful October

October somehow sees it all. I consider it the most delightful month of the year. Writers often talk about the beauty of the weather and the landscape in October. Famous people are born in October (and every other month, of course, but somehow they seem to choose October more frequently than the others). October brings with it Diwali, the brightest and most visually appealing of Indian festivals. On the downside, the exams unleash their fury in the same month, but what is a little bit of inconvenience with so much joy and pleasantness to offset it.

The vagaries of weather are always on full display in October- oppressive heat (I remember having studied something about this in Geography in Class 9 or 10; I wish I’d concentrated better), cyclonic storms, and the approach of autumn. From what I’ve read in English novels, I’ve come to understand that October is a month much appreciated for its weather, for it brings along clear skies and cool weather, the transitory phase between the unpleasant heat of summer and the chill and snow of winter. If the advent of spring is welcomed for all the gaiety and colour that accompany it, so, I am sure, is the approach of autumn.

Living in a tropical concrete jungle, I have never really witnessed autumn in its full glory. There are no magnificent autumnal colours to admire, no brown leaves that crackle underfoot. All I can see is the stray leaf on the balcony that has floated in from the tree across the road, which sends out a gentle shower of tiny yellow leaves that drop soundlessly whenever a soft wind whispers through its branches. There is a nip in the air. The sun is no more an unwelcome presence; its rays tinge the remarkably cloudless azure sky and turn it softly golden. They are delightfully warm on bare skin and break invitingly through the morning mist, acquiring a touch of green as they are filtered through the foliage of the few trees along the highway.

I’d like to experience the autumn of New England. It has inspired writing and music, which means there must be something incredible about it. John Steinbeck talks of autumn in Travels With Charley, where he mentions a woman from New Hampshire telling him that the colours of autumn cannot be remembered, and always come as a surprise. I like to imagine whole forests in autumn, the floor carpeted with dry leaves in various hues, skeletal trees standing still and apparently lifeless until the first leaves of spring rouse them; I imagine a bench in this riot of colour, where I can read in peace and then rest my tired eyes by taking in all the beauty around me. So much is said about autumn; can any writer or artist or photographer do full justice to its brilliant, ethereal colours?

I started with October, and then wicked, wicked autumn drew me away. I see I have been rambling, but I couldn’t help it. October is beautiful and romantic, not just by its own virtue, but also because it unselfishly leads to things and seasons prettier.


Arun said...

hmm I guess I havent been paying too much attention to october...I'm amazed at how much yer able to write on something with seemingly so little to write about..

"Living in a tropical concrete jungle" :D ...

Ashwin Raghu said...

Really liked this piece, and how much the woman in Steinbeck's New Hampshire fit in with the tone of it.

Jaya S said...

Thank you, Ashwin :). I wish we had such pretty autumns here in India.