creative non-fiction Essay remembrance

Autumn Leaves

Amy Clarkin rings in REMEMBRANCE, bidding farewell to summer and welcoming the cool winds of autumn in her essay on transition.

by Amy Clarkin

There is a power in the transition between summer and autumn that no other season replicates. It is a shift from the impulsivity of long summer nights filled with dreams of sunsets and dancing until the sun rises to the rustling calm of autumn, a season that evokes both recollection and purpose.

I am a child of summer but my heart belongs to autumn. No other season balances possibility and remembrance so beautifully. It seems strange that the season where everything begins to decay is the one that feels like the freshest start, but then how can there be a beginning without an end?

Autumn is both memories and promises; of scarves tucked tightly against thick woollen jumpers, of freshly picked berries bursting in your mouth, the juices running down your chin and staining the tips of your fingers. It is the heady heat of a bonfire, the flames rising in twists and curls that dance. If you look closely, dear reader, the tendrils of smoke gently drifting upwards into the darkness will reveal shapes that whisper of moments past or times still yet to come.

Autumn is fingers lacing together gently, lips tentatively brushing for the first time. It is a memory – or is it a prediction? – of a couple, illuminated by the flickering flames of the firelight, lost in the heady moment and warmed as much by the secret space that only they inhabit as they are by the flames. It evokes a sense of hands curled around warm mugs, comforting hot liquid warming cold fingers and inviting confidences to be shared, past secrets to be murmured, future hopes to be confided.

“It seems strange that the season where everything begins to decay is the one that feels like the freshest start, but then how can there be a beginning without an end?”

With the change in weather come recollections and expectations. Leaves crunch underfoot, the remnants of the old year lining your path forward like a guard of honour. Crisp air fills your lungs and the dark evenings usher in a sense of the unknown. It evokes the childlike glee of Halloween, a night where you can be anyone – or anything – that you want to be. It is a rare treat, one deserving to be relished as much now as it was in your youth. Just as Halloween is the traditional time where the spirit world and the material world intersect, autumn is the season where memories and aspirations fuel each other.  

Autumn brings reminiscences of evenings curled by the fire, a favourite book on your lap or a treasured film on screen. It is filled with the nervous anticipation that accompanies a new academic year, of starting new courses and making new friends. Even now, years later, the lingering echoes of these sensations spur on the setting of new goals, the start of new ventures, that spirit of adventure seeping through the threads of time to permeate the present.

Autumn lingers in the heart and in the senses far longer than it is present. Rain and wind may howl against the windows, but from inside, warm and dry, the beauty of them can be appreciated. They wash away the traces of previous failures, of past hurts and long nurtured wounds, clearing a path forward with howling gusts. Autumn is not always gentle, but not all changes are. There is as much to be gained from a sudden upheaval as there is by a gradual, gentle shift.

Autumn is ethereal, a time for roaming through woods, climbing up mountains, enveloped by gold and bronze leaves dancing gently in the breeze. It is legs encased in brown boots, forest green skirts swaying with every step forward. It is berry-stained lips and cheeks flushed gently pink from the growing crispness in the air.

It is a season of remembrance, a season where nostalgia and purpose merge, where memory propels us forward and endings occur only to promise a new beginning. The past haunts us and in doing so drives us forward. And as you walk, through forest pathways or city lanes, along trails lined with the crisp offerings of the season, soft sunlight dancing on hair and woolly hats, listen closely. Amid the rustling branches and gusts of cool wind you may just hear the echo of falling leaves whispering, ‘Remember me’.


Amy Clarkin | @amyclarkin

Amy is a 27-year-old writer and film reviewer from Dublin. She can generally be found drinking coffee and reading, writing or watching stories.

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