While many of us welcome the end of summer and the return to routine as we enjoy the excitement of football season, back to school activities and the bounty of autumn, there is still a sadness to this time of year.
It is especially poignant for me, as it has been nearly a year since our last visit to France. Last year we arrived well into La Rentrée, and the quieter season had fallen across France. We felt it as our train made its way towards the southwest. There was a note of sadness, an amber note to the light, like a fragrance note and only perceptible if you knew what to look for.
Certain bits and pieces of that trip continue to float through my consciousness at odd times. Our brief visit to Montcuq at midday sticks out in my mind, because the leaves on the chestnut trees had fallen, carpeting the promenade with brown. The chestnut tree in our yard is always the first to go in the fall. It was like home, but of course not like home. Crunch crunch crunch underfoot.
This row of cafe tables on the promenade made me sad. I could imagine that a mere three weeks earlier, the tables and chairs would have been filled with tourists and regulars, laughing quietly over a Ricard, whispering over wine or coffee.
Now, a year later back home there are patches of red and gold in the trees along the bay and along Riderman Road. School has started at some of our local schools. There are empty lifeguard stations at the beaches, and empty dinghies moored at docks. Caramel apples are offered for sale at the Italian market.
What a sad and lovely time to savor life!