We find ourselves in mid-October – conkers coat the ground, the evenings are noticeably drawing in and the trees are glowing. Autumn is my favourite season – it is a time to make soup, feed the birds and go for long blustery walks with the reward of a large cup of tea at the other end. It has also inspired some of our best and most beautiful poetry.
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Just as Keats’s ‘mellow fruitfulness’ encourages a sense of anticipation and reflection, this wry ode to Autumn encapsulates the sheer joy to be found in the everyday occurrences of the season. Emily smiles and sings at the sight of leaves falling from trees and at the prospect of the dark nights and the day that will follow, encouraging an appreciation of all that you see.
Too often people leap straight from Summer to Christmas and Autumn gets left behind. We need this season to reflect on the year that has passed so far and to contemplate how to make things better. Humanity is faced by so many problems, problems like poverty, conflict and global warming. We are more likely to be able to be able to deal with them if we take a step back to think, gather information and be inspired to help. One timeless way to do this is to READ. Literature offers us a chance to step into another world for a time and to emerge from it with a fresh perspective.
Here at the Felixstowe Book Festival we have on offer on a yearly basis a whole host of fascinating authors, speakers and their accompanying work for you to absorb and enjoy. So this Autumn I implore you to read a book, go for a walk, pick up conkers and twizzle sycamore leaves and enjoy this mellow and special time. Leave Christmas tucked away in the loft for now and enjoy the peace and quiet that this season has to offer.