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Autumn

An observation of the season

By Skye MacDonald

Image by Valiphotos from Pixabay


Sitting on the fourth floor of the Sir Duncan Rice Library at half past five in the evening, I watch as the light starts to turn golden and shine brightly on the brown stone and grey slate of Meston. I see it move, casting large dancing shadows on the little people walking up to the doors of the library, or collecting their bikes from their parked spot.


The gold only lasts for five minutes or so, and then changes suddenly, and it is grey again. The blue of the sea in the distance and the high riser with its multiple windows still glisten, and the horizon is a pale white. There are a few boats out, and from here it always amazes me how tiny they appear, as if I could just pick them up with my hand. Cars move up and down the road, but are blocked off by the ASV. I wonder where all the people are going to, how they feel, if they drive this road every day.


It is Autumn. October brings a new lease of life into my bones, while also bringing a coldness which forces me to leave my flat to study elsewhere. In the last three days I have noticed it, how the temperature dropped in my bedroom and two jumpers isn’t quite enough. But it is okay.


Like the quote from Anne of Green Gables which circulates Instagram at this time of year,

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”.

It is a time of change. It is a time where light moves and flickers like a burning candle, and where darkness starts to close in earlier. It is a time of colour, of transition. There is a cluster of trees below me that are slowly turning yellow, just the tips of the leaves. Even now, the grass looks greener, reflecting the summer just past and the rain that has been pouring, slowly and frequently.


Aberdeen is known as the grey city, yet in Autumn it comes to life. Before the cold of a long winter sets in, the autumn colours bring a vibrance which I find almost startling for a place that so often lacks colour. The ivy on Kings College finds itself red at this time of year, a brief spell of beauty which gives Old Aberdeen’s already regal buildings a new character.


October is when campus seems to come alive the most - the chatter of students moves through the air as they move between classes and huddle together on the benches. Clutching cups of coffee and wrapped up in long coats, you can feel the buzz of a new semester, combined with the refreshment that the cold wind of Autumn brings.


Leaves have started to slush on the ground, merging together in brown puddles, but this is just part of it: with Autumn you get both beauty and decay, the transition of a world moving into a wintering period, while still bathing in the Summer bliss. A month ago, I read a book called Wintering, by Katherine May, and I found it enlightening as a preparation for entering into these seasons of life where the change of the outer world reflects the change within. As the days get shorter and the rain falls more and the cosiness increases, as does the time for contemplation and thought. As Katherine May puts it, “We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.” In this autumn season, as we see the beauty around us adjust and manifest into something new, it provokes the opportunity to observe what is held within our person, who we are, and who we are becoming.