Friday, 30 October 2015

In the fading light, there is time
to remember saints and souls

Autumn lights in the late evening at the Café Garden in Mount Usher, Ashford, Co Wicklow (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

Since the clocks went back last weekend, the evenings are closing in much more quickly, and it is almost dark before the working day has finished.

The evening canticles, such as Hail Gladdening Light and Nunc Dimittis seem more appropriate at Evensong on these darkening evenings, and yesterday we also sang Henry Francis Lyte’s hymn about the evening of life, Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.

This afternoon, before evening lights began to fade, two of us left work early and drove down through the Glen o’ the Downs to Ashford for a late lunch in the Garden Café at Mount Usher Gardens.

As we drove through this part of Co Wicklow, the trees were a burnished mixture of green, gold, yellow and brown, as if the autumn leaves are holding onto the branches even though November is only a few days away.

A cheerful, cheeky robin on one of the tables at the Café Garden in Mount Usher this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

The tables in the garden were virtually deserted – one person was sitting alone, working on her laptop as she sipped on her cappuccino; one other table was occupied by a cheerful, cheeky robin, as he hopped from chair to table and on to another table, obviously used to be being given sweet morsels by people throughout the day.

Inside, we were given a table by the large window looking out on the gardens with its autumn trees and flowers.

By the time we were leaving, darkness had fallen, and there was a warm glow around some of the tables that were lit.

On the way back home, a few early Hallowe’en bonfires were burning, though with little sense of enthusiasm.

Soon the leaves are going to fade and fall faster, and this seems to be an appropriate time of the year to consider the natural cycle of life and death and new life, to celebrate All Saints and to remember All Souls:

Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not,
abide with me.


Some colour remains on some of the trees at Mount Usher (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

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