Reflections on the end of summer


I have been in a really reflective mood all day today – the first day of September. The fresh new possibilites of summer are over, the nights are drawing in and the chill of winter is on the horizon.  Here in Ireland, thanks to the wind and rain of the past weeks, some  trees  have already begun shedding their leaves. I can see the first tinges of reds and golds annoit the tops of the trees outside my kitchen window.

Today I read the poem Herbsttag (Autumn Day), by Rainer Maria Rilke, which expressed the melancholy I am feeling…

Who now has no house, will not build one (anymore).

Who now is alone, will remain so for long,

will wake, and read, and write long letters

and back and forth on the boulevards

will restlessly wander, while the leaves blow.

It is not so much the words he writes, but the melancholic way he writes them that resonates with me. I am reflecting on how I started this summer briming with the joyful discovery of my miracle pregnancy. The sunny days of summer stretched before me full of hope and excitement. If all had gone well, I would be five months pregnant by now and making plans for the baby to be born at the start of the new year. Instead, I am filled with feelings of sadness and loss.

Perhaps it is also this time of year that affects me. This month five years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and journeyed the tough road of surgery and chemotherapy throughout the hard winter months.  As the trees shed their leaves, I watched as my hair shed bit by bit until eventually like the trees, I stood bare and unadorned. As the chemo took its toll on my body, my periods stopped and my fertility hopes were battered….

But I tell myself that just as the spring comes after the dark days of winter, there is hope. There is always hope. And as we face into winter, it is that hope that I will cling onto.


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