I’m all about autumn. The colours. The autumnal colours. And the contrasts. Give me a grey sky and stark colours over a bright sun and pastels any day. This is my time of year. Over in Balatonmáriafürdő recently, I was torn between marvelling at the palette on offer and being concerned about the low water level of the Balaton. I’ve never seen it so low before.
I’d read earlier this year that the water levels were low but not critically so. We had the driest seven consecutive months since 1901. And I read that if things keep going the way they’re going swimming in the Hungarian Sea might not be an option in 15 years.
I’m trying my damnedest not to worry about stuff I can’t control. It’s way too easy for me these days to spiral into a bout of anxiety. There’s nothing I can do to save the Balaton, except offer a prayer to St Medardus, the patron saint of the weather…and vineyards, brewers, captives and prisoners, the mentally ill, peasants and sterility. He has his hands full.
In the meantime, I can enjoy the autumnal colours.
The Balaton is at its best when the tourists have gone home. When the strands are deserted save the occasional dog and their adult(s). When the smell of hot grease is replaced with the fresh scent of autumnal mist. It’s glorious.
Closer to home, by the Kis-Balaton, the trees are on fire. It’s impossible to capture the breadth of the colour spectrum on display. My quiet was disturbed by a pack of Nordic walkers who sadly weren’t wowed into silence by the majesty of it all. As they ploughed through, I stopped to look at what was going on around me. Their noise a faint echo in the distance, I was left listening to the sound of mushrooms on bark, grateful for all that was on show.
Mary Oliver never disappoints:
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come – six, a dozen – to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.