Ode to autumn
With warm September winds chasing the raindrops away, the sun is fierce than ever. After an abundance of rain throughout the summer and monsoon, suddenly the clouds have forsaken the sky completely. Its scorching sunrays all around, glistening like ravishing red rubies and burning everything that comes into its contact says that it's finally time for the plums and prunes to ripe.
As soon as autumn winds knock on my window panes, my mother always says, "It's finally time for some plum pancakes kids. Taste the best while you can as in no time the withering winter will come and take away life, leaving a cold and colourless scenery behind."
Autumn is not a very celebrated season as it is not as soothing as spring, the queen of seasons. However, its blue sky is something even spring envies. Out of all the six seasons, I like autumn's sky the most. With a blue carpet, as appealing and gentle as the moonstone, where naughty snow-white clouds play by forming different shapes, it is the biggest canvas of my world -- a canvas that nature itself draws on, a canvas that eyes cannot imprison.
What starts with the dreadful warm winds wreathing from the dens the mighty sea, slowly leaves the earth as the fruits transform colour and the crop fields turn into gold. With the axe chopping the paddy stems and the seeds and pulses being dried, the autumn leaves after they have completed their promise to the farmers. Now, the tummies will be stout fed and the granaries will be full.
With heat and heart, the farmers sweat and swear. They will again work harder when autumn is near. Sparkling droplets of sweat resembling tears of joy, dripping from their muscular biceps and forehead is the reward autumn gets.
A vivid delight is also gifted by this season as the long stems of Dahlia are finally iced with petals -- yellow, orange, maroon, magenta, and white. The hibiscus finally flaps its delicate wings and blooms by. But beware, do not pluck them or in an instant they will wither and die!
A few days after autumn arrives, the rivers dry and the banks fall by, with fishes surviving on the deepest estuaries. With nets thrown from hand peddled boats, fishes seldom find duckweed and water hyacinth roots to hide under and thus bids farewell to its life water.
With fishes sheltering under duckweed and algae, they lay eggs and release their young ones, in hope to save them from bigger fins and jaws lying close by. With one strong twist and all is swept away, all that was in treasure under the bosom of its drying tributaries, dying without a word to express their agony.
Soon, as autumn winds come in with full force, the leaves first start to turn yellow, then pale, and then finally red, dangling from the edges of the branches like pendulum's hand. With one final windy winter blow and all that is left of life will vanish. The trees are yellow now, waits for the winter winds to come by.
With the clouds wandering by, in shapes of rabbit, crow, and birds that flap their winds and with the sun dimming away with its fading rays kissing the horizon, the sky makes my every autumn evening a much-relished one. My mother struggling in the kitchen to process the plums for her fried pancakes and my brother gulping them off as soon as she drains them from the oil and keeps them on the tray -- this is the best part of the time.
With a cup of freshly grinded coffee, radiating a smell of freshness, and a couple of Marie biscuits paired with an exquisite sky is what I crave for when Autumn is not around. With the smell of plum pancakes radiating from my mother's kitchen and the sun finally away from the earth, the ground now perspires and cools down before it takes a nap.
The birds are now dancing around the yellow leaves and people shaded in their balconies, my eyes do not get tired with the clouds' concert. With every passing day, as I take a further step into winter, the starry nights guide my fingers as they scribble on the pages of my notebook, praising the beauty of my autumn evening.
Photo: Alex Romario