Before the fullness of the fall, comes the golding.
That moment when our shrubs and trees take on various shades of gold. It’s fleeting, a moment glimpsed before the main event.
The golding takes place in that space between the vivid greens of spring and summer and the reds and oranges of autumn. It’s a minor act leading up to the big attraction that inspires the gorgeous adjectives.
I honour the golding, observing how it lights up the ground in mid-October, how it repeats itself in the sister-colours of leaves on vines and trees that will never turn red or orange, but give their own light. The birches and some maples, for example.
Soon will come the stars of autumn, those brilliant-coloured leaves that appear in an explosion of glory — clothing large trees and small shrubs and instilling feelings of warmth and wonder in the people of this region.
When that happens, we are no longer casual passersby on a quotidian walk along the road. We are humans transfixed by a familiar astonishment: that our planet Earth could yield sights of such overwhelming beauty.
Transfixed, we are, by magic and grace and awe.
We want to hold on to it all, just that bit longer before the brittle dry bones of winter move in and take its place. We want the beauty and the brilliance, the warming and the wonder. The flourish, not the fading.
We know that winter is more than dry, dark bones. That it brings its own beauty. That what seems to be death also brings life.
But we are human. We mourn the passing of the colours. And I cast back to the golding, the poor cousin of the rich, brilliant colours, because that was a time when the light was golden and we knew what was to come.
Our family’s October brought it all: the greening, the golding, the brilliant reds and oranges. The hoping, the shining, the fading.
In one week, we experienced the birth of a precious new baby and the illness, sudden recovery, then slow death of a beloved relative.
One, in years to come, will take her place at the family table. One, in years past, always had a place at the table.
Joy and grief have tangled, alternated, shared space in our family’s hearts this October. We’ve cried tears of joy and incredulity, and tears of pain and shock.
But we’ve held on to this, above all: love, gratitude and faith.
As we journeyed from one bedside to another, from one hospital to another — from feelings of wonder and warmth to feelings of anxiety and distress — love, gratitude and faith helped sustain us.
In them, we find strength. In them, we both remember and look forward. And in the space between the remembrance and the visioning, these three – love, faith and gratitude, all intermingled — help us to provide support for those who need it most.
The new parents.
The grieving wife. The stunned children and grandchildren, the nieces and nephews, the siblings.
At the start of November, we say farewell to our beloved elder, Keith.
We say welcome to our beloved newborn, Vivian Victoria.
We are grateful for the blessing of you both. In your birthing and in your dying, in that golden space between the greens and the reds, we hope you’ve felt our love, gratitude and faith with its light and warmth.