1. The weather
It’s cold and you barely make it past the front door without shivering and holding your clothes tight. It’ll only get colder however: Winter is coming.
2. Leaves falling
There’s no better way of knowing Autumn’s arrived than trodden leaves strewn across the pavement. At first blotches on the grey pavement, they soon grow into tapestries exploding with orange, yellow and red. You watch petulant children kick away scraps while behind an equally irritated street cleaner sweeps them up. Meanwhile, you’re warmed by the decay of the image, how something so deadening could form part of a natural life process, reminding you how some of the most valuable things in life are the ones that you can let go.
3. Home Sweet Home
Only sheer willpower takes you out of your bedroom. At the end of the day, you launch onto your bed like a trampoline, and you curl up in a battered paperback that transports you into another world while ensconced in the shell of warmth that is your most comfortable resting position. Never mind the stacks of work piling on your study desk, you just want to be taken away, and while secluded inside your entertainment, you feel yourself slowly cocooned in folds of pleasure.
4. You get nostalgia
In the midst of relaxation periods however, wedged inside the gunfire of daily work, your mind travels beyond what you see surrounds you. At first a trickle, then a stream of thought enters your mind, that rippling out from the decay of nature around is a common thread, that all comes eventually to an end. Your mind fills with memories of the past, of similar cycles that were burnished with triumph, failure or messy conclusions. You might even think of this year, how quickly it went, how often the trajectory that we can idealise in fact materialises into automatic, robotic behaviour without a sense of agency or purpose until suddenly, as if from a dream, you wake up and realise there are only a couple more months until the end of the year. As the leaves collect on the damp pavements, you wonder yourself if your past dreams and lofted goals similarly rest in a basket of cushioned yet fragile casing.
5. You think about the future
Autumn is a beacon point however for a greater truth, that life goes on regardless of setback or obstacle. Life is the greatest cause, as a cause in itself, and the decay observed in Autumn is a reminder that the force of nature that gives can also take away with the same ease. Inside the equilibrium of your being rests a greater conviction that through whatever flux lies the strongest continuity, that of our own ability to endure and thrive. Autumn eases us into the mentality of decline, but also reminds us that it’s not an end in itself, that soon through time the ground is enriched by the cast leaves, hardened by the cold, and forms a bedding for the next season of life to burst through.
Nature as a whole is a forgotten gift. Often in the modern age, we can be detached from the natural circumstance of our surroundings. We can feel chased by the demands our status gives us, that almost heroically we are the masters of our final destiny. Time with nature then gives us time to reflect, and teaches us humility and awareness that redeems us from the egotistical pitfalls that pocket the nexus of everyday activity. Whatever it might be, a walk in the park or time spent in a garden, nature is a cure that temporarily immerses ourselves in an altogether different alternative view, that we might fluctuate with the same cycle and finitude as natural organism.
Autumn then is an invitation to settle into university life and offers consolation in times where we might also feel small and insignificant in the wider expanse of the world around us. When we might worry about essays, fitting in or feel socially insecure, Autumn can offer insights on both impermanence and possibility, that the greatest good can be found through decay of the old and potential for the new.