A couple of weeks ago, Anne went cycling on her own. Twenty-five years old,
she was just a young woman, right at the start of her life, going on an ordinary, little adventure at the end of the day. A young woman, much like myself, much like many of us. A young woman, who never returned home that night & whose body was found dead and discarded in the forest 2 weeks later.
Anne has been on my mind a lot lately. Not just because the news has been dominated by her disappearance, but mainly because her story and all the details of her passing have found a way to my heart and won’t let themselves be shaken off. The cycling trip, the numbered tracks, the day drawing to an end, the world around her dripping with her imminent ending.
In this past week, I have found my thoughts drifting to dark places as I thought of her discarded, lonely self left in that, once so innocent ,forest; so far from those she loved & those who loved her. To me, nature has always been a place to feel fully at ease, a place to recharge & come to terms with the bustle of life. The forest in fall has always been my go-to-place, my unquestioned favourite season.
Yet, suddenly, this same place & this same season were dragged into the harsh light of reality & were made to be stained by the vicious act of Anne’s killer. It’s like I just cannot not comprehend how so much natural beauty & so much sickening violence can co-exist in one place at the same time.
Anne, just another story on the news. Anne, the girl that went cycling & never come round again. Anne, who I never met & was never likely to meet. Anne, whose senseless death has settled within me for reasons I might never fully understand.
This is for Anne. This is for me. This is for the forest in fall. This is for the restoring of innocence & beauty in places where it is lost. This is for all of us who might need this right now….
The forest and the girl
The moss and the fungus
the evaporating dew
the endless singing overhead
the smelling and the creaking
the frail, motionless canopy
the breaking and the falling
the inevitable ending;
The forest and the girl.
Goodbye October, you have come & gone. I have been running late & before long, I might forget what made our time together so special & valuable. And that would be such a waste, wouldn’t it?
So, before you go, let me take a moment to thank you. Thank you for celebrating nature at its best. The showers of yellow, orange, red & brown, the leafs dancing in the streets, the bright blue skies & the silent, early mornings. You amazed me, you had me looking up & up & up. Had me mesmerized; constantly captivated by all your glorious beauty.
Goodbye Beautiful October, I’m sad to see you go, but you have certainly fuelled me for the winter months to come. I will treasure the days, hours & moments we spend together.
As time went by, your days grew shorter, your wind sharper & more whimsical. But at the best of times, I could still leave my coat at home. I got to see the sun climbing into the sky, witnessed the start of so many perfect autumn days. I stared up at the trees, their colourful canopy like a party in the sky. Cycling, I had to course correct, remind myself to put daydreams on hold & pay attention to the world in front of me.
During the comforting time we spend together, I ran into challenges, big & beautiful. And, despite the fear & the mix emotions which go hand in hand with all newness, I grabbed opportunities with both hands, ready to learn, not so ready to stumble. I took a moment to embrace the underrated joy of hearing a new masterpiece. I celebrated the birth of the greatest person on earth. I mourned the loss of those I’d never know. I cooked new things, reintroduced old favourites. As always, I planned & planned, mostly too much, but never really enough. I learned, I read, I loved, I thought & then thought some more. And in the midst of our time together, I ran into a new side to myself. Thinking I knew it all, thinking I had peeled back every single layer of the person I have always aimed to become, I wandered into unfamiliar territory. And I have been wondered about this unexpected insight ever since.
Goodbye Dear October, you have been ever so sweet. But you’ve also been wild, ruthless & unforgiving. You had hurricanes sweeping in, tearing away everything from those who had nothing to begin with. I watched the world as it unravelled into a battle of right & wrong, decent & savage. I felt us inching towards a time in history I’m afraid I will never be able to understand. The overflowing boats, the vicious seize-fires, the never-ending tug of war between rightfulness & reality. And even though I know I am supposed to be some sort of vague part of it all, I never felt further removed from the world & all its boundless violence.
Goodbye lovely October, you will be missed. Your days were busy, unorganised at the worst of times. There were moments I wanted to pause you, take a breath & reset everything. But more than anything, you were magnificent & my life was beautifully whole & lovely incomplete at the same time. Thanks you for everything; the confidence gained, the lessons learned & the beauty given. Thank you for the music, the words & all the inspiration. Thank you for the evenings, spend in the safety of all I know. And thank you for the days full of colourful wonder.
I’ll wrap this up now. November is here, she has already begun & it’s time for you to go. Take care, sweet October, let’s meet again next year.
Book: ‘Waiting for Wednesday’ & Thursday’s Child’ both by Nicci French
(now I might aswell finish the series:)
Movie: ‘Das Leben das Anderen’,
a beautiful touching movie, which I have seen about three times now.
Songs of the month:
You want it darker – Leonard Cohen
Deep Waters – Jack Savoretti
It seemed the better way – Leonard Cohen
All of me – Milow (cover)
October Theme: The Art of Autumn
Autumn; my favourite season of them all. If you ask me, autumn simply has the best of everything. The warmth of summer, the beauty of spring & all the cosiness of winter.
Nature changes rapidly. All around me, trees decorated in festive colours as their leafs go from green, to yellow, to orange, red, brown. The sun casting long shadows, revealing spider webs & casting angel rays on the surface below. The days get shorter, the mornings darker, but the evenings are long & fulfilling. I feel like going into the kitchen the instance the sun goes down, cooking warm soups, hot curries & hearty potpies. I want to gather all the songs I ever loved, memorize all the words I ever learned & dance to it all. I want everything, but at the same time, I want as little as possible.
This is the wonderful season of change; around me & inside of me. Each and every year at the beginning of autumn, as the first subtle changes take shape around us, the promise of change settles within my wandering mind. That exiting, yet slightly unsettling feeling of all things ending & all things beginning at the same moment in time. Like life & time are colliding somehow. Everything comes together; one last meeting on the threshold of winter. Promise is in the air, dancing around with its friends, called hope, sorrow, joy & disappointment. Days slipping away, drifting down with the leafs, swirling through the streets & disappearing from sight. The year drawing to a close, but there is still time to alter the course of the memories we are about to make.
Maybe the dark days of winter were created for reflection, but as it turns out, my days of reflection come with the colourful days of fall. My impatient mind wants to put the days, months & years in order right now, it wants to understand the when & the why of it all. It wants to come to terms with what happened to the world when we weren’t watching & what the winter will bring if we don’t find a way to put everything back on track. It wants to make plans, wants to look forward & backwards, all in equal amounts. But most of all, it wants to pause & understand the moment. It simply wants to be & be nothing more than here, now, today.
My October theme celebrates autumn; showcases it through my eyes. Close-up, simple & in full colour.