The rain today hints very strongly that Autumn approaches. I've always liked Autumn: the soft melancholy of the colours, the brittle texture of the air and ground, and the feeling that this season holds the wisdom of the year, before it slides into the dotage (and quite frankly the absurdity) of winter (especially Christmas). I've appreciated too the irony that when the year begins to ebb, school and academic institutions fire up with renewed energy - as if to pretend what is to come has none of the bleakness of the year's true start.
Autumn's slow movement towards the year end conjures up farewells; most notably with the harvest - gathering in the food to see us through the barren, empty times ahead. Meanwhile in the cities the inhabitants rush to make sure coats and footware are up to the job, tinned goods are stocked and the TV schedules are tightly packed.
Strangely I've never been good at goodbyes. I either scoot over them dismissively, or they become an almost unbearable emotional ordeal. The former is the way in which I handle the situation most of the time, briskly - very English, detatched and ironic, as if the parting isn't really happening. This form of social denial is typical of the way in which I handle the majority of contact with the outside world; open - yes, upfront - yes, scared out of my fucking mind - yes. As a result I weave webs of sarcasm, irony and invention around myself - hoping to display something interesting. To be honest this kind of social persona is vital in order to leave the house without the burden of paranoia grinding me into the ground (something I assume to be the case for other people, but have not really researched), so is fairly unremarkable in its necessity.
But goodbyes of significance? Leaving home; sending a loved one on a journey; moving to a new house; beginning a new job - all of these I find quite overwhelming. The sensation is worse when the other person, or people, leave - or a permanent presence in my imaginative world is removed (For some reason my departure from others holds less discomfort for me - I think because in moving I have control over a situation, and I suspect my absence is not as hard on other people). In this way parting becomes about security, about the need to have the safety of those I trust around, and about ny fear of not being able to function by myself.
It occurs to me that I associate goodbye with finality - with deseasement, and the concern that I will not live up to my own judgement of what others should expect of me (which, given my ego, is immense). So each time I confront these goodbyes I glimpse a sense of my own failure to fulfil any promise I once had.
The wisdom of Autumn then, is to reveal the need to pause, to recognise the expectations on me are of my own doing, and to enjoy the creativity that I have surpressed for what it is - an act of free communication. No pressure, no guilt, just expression. Yeah, right.