It’s Autumn in Brisbane and there is a definite chill in the air, though it is only noticeable in the early mornings and late afternoons as our days are still reaching a warm 24°C.
Autumn in Brisbane only lasts for a few weeks and unfortunately we don’t get the magnificent Fall colour display experienced by those countries in the northern hemisphere.
However, the milder temperatures are most welcome here after the searingly hot days of the past few months, as is the sight of Mother Nature discarding the bright colourful garments of Summer for the more muted tapestry of dark reds, oranges, golds and pale yellows.
I visited one of my favourite places yesterday, the botanical gardens at Mt Cootha. It had been raining and the gardens were shrouded in a light mist with the sun just managing to break through every now and again.
You could tell it was the very end of Summer. The ground was strewn with a thick carpet of fallen flowers and the trees bore only the remnants of the brightly hued blooms so reminiscent of the heady days not so long gone.
Wandering through the gardens I was suddenly aware of the strange looming shapes of the Frangipani and Poinciana trees whose forms seemed to dominate as more and more of their leaves dropped to the ground.
Structure and texture seemed to become so much more evident and I was aware of colours and patterns on the branches and trunks of the trees that I had never noticed when they were full of foilage and flowers.
The last of the Camelias were perfectly displayed on the thinning branches with plenty of room to open up and spread their delicate petals.
The light yesterday was also different. It was wistfully soft, almost surreal, and the very slight breeze was scented with the slowly rotting flowers and curling, crunchy leaves lying at the feet of the near-naked trees.
Everything seemed to be holding its breath, ready for the dormancy and hibernation of Winter.
The season of Autumn has such a melancholy and reflective feel about it - almost a tinge of sadness for the loss of Summer.
Romantic poet, John Keats manages to capture this sadness of Autumn's fleeting beauty so well in the final stanza of his wonderfully evocative poem Ode to Autumn.
“Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.”