An Autumn Stroll

This is an autumn. One comes every year, of course, but somehow each year’s looks and smells more autumnal, doesn’t it? Perhaps this is a sign of the times, in which case we might feel blessed, almost literally touched by divine grace, since to honest eyes these times are already, surely, the onset of a long, harsh winter. “What are all these pretty colors doing here, then?” God’s generous illusion to assist us in our painful resignation to the cold, allowing us to enjoy the beauty of clinging life a little longer than would seem plausible.

Or perhaps this year’s autumn is quite the opposite, namely a devilish mockery of our condition. “Isn’t it beautiful, and not so terribly cold?” we muse, entranced by the leaves above as we blindly step with a shock through the hole we ourselves have mindlessly drilled in the ice, and fall into the freezing, fathomless sea. What are the odds of finding the hole and climbing back up to the surface? What would it feel like to ask that question while begging for air, during the onset of hypothermia? Mankind is about to find out.

This morning, I had too many things to do, and also too many things to worry about — even apart from the death of civilization. I would like to know where my distant friend is, and why he hasn’t answered my messages in several days, for example. So, as I do in such conditions, or in fact in almost any conditions, I took a walk. On the way, I found some things. Interpret them as you will: God’s pity for man, the devil’s laughter at our demise, or just another year’s penultimate stage in the natural cycle.

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