October Offerings – Part XXX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.” – Thomas Hood

Below – Yiming Hu: “Autumn Morning and Mist”
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“Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man and requires the least of him.” – Hal Borland
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A Poem for Today

“Enriching the Earth,”
By Wendell Berry

To enrich the earth I have sowed clover and grass
to grow and die. I have plowed in the seeds
of winter grains and of various legumes,
their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth.
I have stirred into the ground the offal
and the decay of the growth of past seasons
and so mended the earth and made its yield increase.
All this serves the dark. I am slowly falling
into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth,
not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness
and a delight to the air, and my days
do not wholly pass. It is the mind’s service,
for when the will fails so do the hands
and one lives at the expense of life.
After death, willing or not, the body serves,
entering the earth. And so what was heaviest
and most mute is at last raised up into song.

Below – Jean-Francois Millet: “The Sower”
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“A kestrel can and does hover in the dead calm of summer days, when there is not the faintest breath of wind. He will, and does, hover in the still, soft atmosphere of early autumn, when the gossamer falls in showers, coming straight down as if it were raining silk.” – Richard Jefferies
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“I have been to Canada several times. It was autumn when I visited Vancouver, and I will always remember the colour of the trees in British Columbia were stunning.” – Natalie Dormer
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“The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” – “Northern Advocate” in “Cyclopaedia of Nature Teachings” (1892)
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“I cherish the loneliness of autumn…. I am forty, I have become mortal. I have no further psychic, emotional, or intellectual need to prolong summer seasons, and it is only when autumn begins its play that I can truly focus on the rich and vital life I am living. All of a sudden I grow alert. October is a hallelujah! reverberating in my body year-round…. The air is dusty, it smells of dry pine needles; yet I sense imminent ice in the clear blue sky…. How I appreciate everything…fully! After all, tomorrow this reprieve will be buried by blizzards, crushed under slabs of doomsday ice. I cannot waste a minute indoors! I must take advantage of this gift, wedged so tentatively between summer’s hectic somnolence and winter’s harsh apogee…. Each perfect day, I know, is going to be the last beautiful day of autumn.” – John Nichols
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A Second Poem for Today

“Burning the small dead,”
By Gary Snyder

Burning the small dead
branches
broke from beneath
thick spreading
whitebark pine.

A hundred summers
snowmelt rock and air

hiss in a twisted bough.

sierra granite
Mt. Ritter –
black rock twice as old.

Deneb, Altair

windy fire.
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“The transparent haze which rests upon the mountain-top at noon,—the calmness in the air, and the clearness of the sky, now have a most mysterious influence upon the heart. The “still small voice” of nature makes us thoughtful; and seems to invite us to think upon the swiftness with which our days are passing away. How often at such an hour, have I been startled by the beating of my own heart! And the sunsets of Autumn,—are they not gorgeous beyond description? more so than the brightest dreams of poetry?” – Charles Lanman
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“The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn; but it comes gradually. Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day. But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness of the small hours, one can hear it, a foretaste of Winter silence. It’s a little painful now, and a little lonely because it is so strange.” – Hal Borland

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“If you stand still outside you can hear it…
Winter’s footsteps,
the sound of falling leaves.” – Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

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“I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.” – Henry David Thoreau

Below – Walden Pond
Autumn Trees at Walden Pond

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