These are berries I call "bitter sweet". Sometimes they are orange instead of yellow. They are abundant in October; these were on Long Beach where I have been walking all summer. But now it is October. Three days of relentless rain and gray skies, tells me summer has ended and autumn has come. Autumn is a bittersweet season.
Visually it is a burst of color that is magnificent, more so than the many flowers of summer, more so than the brilliant blue skies and long sunny days of summer. Autumn is a season and it is a metaphor. I have just written a rather disjointed little piece about my experiences of autumn -- starting with October visits to my mother when we would go for drives to view the leaves in all their glory. They were wonderful in Southern Indiana but it was even more magnificent in Upstate New York where I lived at the time. the season is different in different parts of the country. Famously beautiful in New England, upstate New York can't be equalled -- say I, in a chavinistic mood because I saw tidal waves of color on the hills in that area that surely cannot be equaled anywhere. I supposed that is arguable.
Of course there is always the parallel, the metaphor, of the autumn of our lives. The ripe period of maturity which I feel I'm in now in my 70s. I think of the excitement I felt at a gathering of a small group of art quilters the other day. My own contribution nothing I want to brag about along side the fine art work of others. It is what it is. The theme was architecture. My rather traditional quilt of buildings among the trees -- the way I experience driving many of the Cape Cod two-lane roads -- was perhaps less creative than others. And less obviously metaphorical than the piece created by a woman whose husband died this past summer. She had pictured two of the iconic dune shacks of the outer Cape, one standing firm on it's dune and the other tipped, sliding away at an angle beside it. I did not remark on the meaning I saw immediately -- a woman still on her two feet even though the mate is sliding away. This is art -- the kind of art that simply happens when the artist is in touch with her feelings. I was very moved by that little quilt. And I believe her perseverence is bitter sweet. She is not the only widow of this summer in whom I view a strength. That is a part of the meaning of autumn.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!