Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Ramble - Fleeting

This week's word comes to us from the Middle English flete and Old English flēot, both meaning to float. In common usage, fleeting describes things that live for a brief time and pass out of the world swiftly, sometimes in twinkling of an eye.  Synonyms for this week's offering are some of my favorites in the English language - cursory, ephemeral, evanescent, impermanent, meteoric, momentary, passing, transitory, vanishing, volatile, elusive, ethereal, gossamer, temporal, transient, transitory, vanishing, vaporous, volatile.

The Two Hundred Acre Wood in Lanark is a different place than it was in early September. Himself and Beau and I wandered about there for a few hours this week, and the windy, sunlit woods seemed to go on and on forever, whole groves of trees changing color together and turning into chambers of stained glass.  Here and there, falling leaves were caught in branches or suspended on strands of spider silk, and a thousand and one others drifted down to rest at our feet like offerings. The woods were one glorious room after another, and I found myself thinking of something John Crowley wrote in his fabulous novel, Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament: "The further in you go, the bigger it gets.
A fey wind ruffled our hair as we walked along, scattered acorns, pods and fluff in all directions. Goldenrod, milkweed and wild carrot (Queen Anne's lace) along our trail were going to seed, and they watched us pass, committing our blundering passage and the season's turning to wild and elemental memory.

There were fine wild musics everywhere. I took my blackthorn walking stick along on our ramble, and it made a pleasant racket as it scuffled through the bounty at our feet.  Wherever we went, we were accompanied by the wing beats of geese flying back and forth between nearby waters and farm fields, by the exultant tumult of the creek in the gorge as it raced toward the beaver pond on the other side of the woods with its precious freight of liberated leaves and whiskery twigs. At times, both creek and pond seem to be made of blue sky.

Stopping for a moment, we drank in the light slanting through the trees, and there was the clear sense that everything around us was fleeting and fragile and precious. It seems as though only yesterday we were rejoicing in the filtered emerald light of summer and contemplating our unruly rural garden. Now here we were in our woods, seeing all around us the clear, irrefutable evidence that another season is on its way.

The passing of the seasons is a powerful reminder that we are here in the Great Round for only a brief time, in our present form anyway. For a scant handful of days, we go walking through this world, and we blaze with life and spirit as we go, lit from within and throwing sparks like the starstuff of which we are made. Life is a glorious, fleeting thing, and autumn says that best.

1 comment:

christinalfrutiger said...

Just beautiful! Happy Autumn Cate...I can say it now that it is really here! :)