The dawn finally smelled like autumn this morning, the trees surrounding the hospital scenting the sky with a blaze of red and orange leaves. This time of year has always delighted and disappointed me in equal measures. I love the colours – the contrast of the sky and the foliage – but that this glorious display is so brief breaks my heart. There are so many things which make this season beautiful, yet the fact that death is the underlying cause somehow makes it rarer – it goes from the mundane to being transient and magical.

Death, that oh-so-permenant state which we call upon as life’s only certainty, is better than anything else on this earth at creating scarcity. After someone has died, any inanimate object – identical to countless others – suddenly takes on the mantle of some precious treasure. It is valuable now because the hand which once held it will never hold again. Autumn is stunning because the leaves, scattered across the asphalt like rubies, are finished. There will be no more this year. Any colour in the coming months must be drawn from the steadfast evergreens and artificial worlds we create for ourselves.

But this got me to thinking, as yet again I failed to locate my car in the multistorey car-park. Even death is transient. The trees will come again with more leaves, flowers bloom through concrete, grass push up through the grave. Life is, despite its fragile nature, indefatigable. To my mind, it is not death that is certain. Only life is certain.

Advertisements