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Strolling Through A Thurles Autumn

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.
Extract from a poem ‘To Autumn’ by Poet John Keats

Autumn officially began here in Ireland this year on Tuesday, September 22nd 2020 (Astronomer’s calender) and will end on Monday, December 21st when nature takes on its winter sleep until once again to be awoken by spring in March 2021. [Note: September 1st to November 30th per traditional Meteorological calendar.]

As each year passes, we are wont to discuss our seasons metaphorically with regards to human living; someone is described as “being in the autumn of their years”, or someone is “no spring chicken”, or someone is “in the winter of their time” and “Summer is a time for the tasting of new melodies”.

This season, synonymous with ripened apples, multicoloured Fountain Grasses, Michaelmas and Black Eyed Susie Daisies, is most often referred to as “the fall of the year” since it coincides with the time when leaves fall from our abundance of trees, both native and foreign born.

In the past, as a boy, autumn always appeared to close that curtain, as it were, on our stage presentation of summer. While it was regrettably ‘back to school time’, for me back in the mid-20th century, it still remains my favourite season.

There were hazel nuts to collect. There were horse chestnuts (conkers) to be gathered, hardened (by soaking in vinegar), then the drilling/piercing and cording of same, in preparation for that anticipated conker fight. There were orchards to be raided and with Halloween on the horizon, there were turnips to be carved (few pumkins back then for such pleasures) and of course buttered barmbrack to be eaten.

The leaves on the trees in each late September begin to turn different colours, some to sepia tone brown; others to red, to gold, as the branches holding them, waving in our prevailing south-westerly breezes, took on a more skeleton look once more.
Year after year these leaves pirouette downward to form mother nature’s rich colourful collage on our green grassy earth or on our cement coloured pavements below.

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