Today we had what is called "soft weather" on the coast, grey, still and misty. Autumn arrives in the Okanagan. We've had a brilliant fall so far, clear, sunny days with just enough briskness in the air to pinken your cheeks and make you want to breathe as deeply as your lungs will allow. Walking under the trees I feel as if I walk in a cone of peace. The mist absorbs and muffles any sound and it is extraordinarily quiet.
The only sounds which break through are a pair of Canada Geese flying over the adjacent field. They converse in honks and bleats. A crow adds a note of coarse laughter. These only act as punctuation - they don't disturb the silence.
With the shelter of high cliffs to the north and west and the moderating influence of the lake in front of us, we have not yet had a frost. The flowers in the garden continue to bloom, though lacking some of the brilliance and vigor they displayed at summer's height. The mums are mounds of blossom, the toad lily is adorned with fragile blooms. The flowering kale is at its best though its purple and pink leaves clash wildly with the orange leaves surrounding it. Inside this colour combination would be nauseating at best, but here the raw colours feed off each other with a confidence designers could never get right.
Orange and yellow leaves drop steadily from the mock cherry trees, and are at the moment almost as colorful as the blooms they are slowly burying. I don't know whether to rake the leaves up or allow them to cover (and shelter) the plants as they die back for winter. They'd make great compost material, if my laundry basket composter weren't already full to the brim. Maybe I'll pull the finished compost from the basket, scatter it in the garden and start a new batch with my harvest of leaves.
The cycle of life is all around us. In the leaves, the flowers and even in our own bodies. Each season has its own unique beauty. Spring moves to summer and on to autumn. Winter overtakes and for a time it looks as if death has triumphed. But spring has never failed to follow winter, and it is from this eternal spring that we draw our hope.