There’s something about the light in August. It’s richer, more soft. It carries with it the mellowness of the summer months now past. It’s the same with sea at our English coasts. Its cold does not bite as it did in April and May. I recall an early September day at the Isle of Wight when, with the scar of a major operation still raw, I swam out and waved to Mrs Llew in her deckchair. And I shouted aloud with joy at the sheer sense of well-being.
Often, when I swam in the sea I would, in thanks, tread water and say the Gloria out loud as I looked out to the horizon. In London I would cycle to the Highgate ponds and float beneath overhanging chestnut trees, as the morning mist rose from the water.
A couple of days ago I said here that the present is the only thing that we old people have. But the present, I realise, does include all that we are, up to now – including our memories. We have our memories. Not all of them will be happy. But they all are part of us. Perhaps we should take into ourselves the good ones and, in peace, leave behind the bad ones. May all our memories be resolved into peace, in the light of this Autumn sun, our years’ Autumn and our lives’ Autumn … and, through the intercession for us, of the Light of the World.
I remembered today our returning from our summer holidays in Wales. The golden light was mellow. The London roads were quieter. There was a warmth, even the hint of heaviness in the air, as the taxi took us home through the dusk of Primrose Hill and Camden Town.
And in my mind’s eye I saw a paved footpath across some playing fields near our home. It had wine dark stains on it, from the damson plums which had fallen, unharvested, from the neighbouring garden..
Every year they were there as my family wandered out for our brookside walks.