August 14th, 2018

Cheated by early October storm

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on October 11, 2017.

Well, the snowy weather and strong winds have sadly cheated us of the main part of our fall this year. With harvest almost over and the beautiful turning leaves usually makes for an enticing few weeks of autumn leaf gazing, idyllic hikes through nature’s last great ecstasy, and mild daylight temperatures which are a wonderful relief after the dry, hot summer days.

Even with most of leaves now fallen and blown away, it is possible to still treasure the memory of what was, even though it lasted little more than a week. Something, frankly, we do not do enough of in Canada.

In Japan, for example, they deem the whole month of September-October as leaf-viewing season. People make an effort to go out in groups into the woods near famous mountains and shrines, or nearby parks, to revel in the changing autumn glories all around them. Autumn is also a potent reminder to them, and many other cultures, of the encroaching winter season and the finite element which is life. The fall tells us in spectacular fashion that there will come a time when all things must end, and the deep quiet of the snows shall cover everything bringing the seasonal cycle of life to and end.

“In the mountain depths, treading through the crimson leaves,” writes the Japanese poet Surumaru. “The wandering stag calls. When I hear the lonely cry, Sad—how sad!—the autumn is.”

While Surumaru writes of the innate sadness of the autumnal change, others see the joy and beauty the autumn season brings. British author George Eliot, a.k.a. Mary Anne Evans, had the right idea when she said: “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

Whichever way you feel about it, the important thing is to mark this season with due reverence, remembering nature’s last shining glory before the winter ice.

(Tim Kalinowski is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to

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