FROM THE MINISTER

Autumn 2018

Dear Friends,

Apples ripen and orchard fruits, leaves start to fall, and I have been harvesting a few ordinary reflections on what this season can mean to us.

In our family autumn brings birthdays – my wife’s, my own, our daughter’s, my sister’s, our son-in-law’s, – and, God willing, our grandchild’s.

It is also the season in which we remember my mother’s and my father-in-law’s birthdays – both gone now, but dear to memory.

Autumn festivals are harvest, Come ye thankful people come and Remembrance poppies. Autumn is also warm woollies, tweeds, corduroys and sensible shoes

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Poets like John Keats, Season of mists and mellow fruitful-ness, and Dylan Thomas, Poem in October, have waxed lyrical about the season, as has William Butler Yeats, whose lines come into my mind day after day as I take our little dog for his walk:

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry…

Trees are at their most poignantly beautiful in their russet hues. Geese cross our skies in their sombre formations accompanied by their autumnal cries.

 

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Stepping out to the coal shed
coal bucket in hand,
and preparing to light
the first fire of autumn,
I remember the ash bucket
brimming with snow.

That was when I lived a very rural existence in West Wales, when you felt cupped in the hands of the season, with its warmth indoors, curtains drawn against the earlier evenings, as the year carried you gently to its close.

Is there a more fragrant heart-felt time of year, intoxicating in its sights, sounds, and smells, than autumn? Little creatures prepare to hibernate, and after the gaudy summer (so hot, so dry this year!) who doesn’t settle by the hearthside in the evening without a thankful prayer?

Autumn is like a favourite old story, a familiar film or concerto, a return visit to an old country house or inn, and I always fondly think that we call autumn, “autumn”, because that is how we imagine our countryside “ought” to be…

I wish all chapel members and friends a peaceful and fruitful autumn this year.

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From The Minister Archives
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