I always love the first rains of the autumn. They have a special smell about them, a freshness that sweeps away the dust and speaks of new beginnings, a coolness after the scorching summer sun, a promise of life for a land which, when all’s said and done, lies on the edge of the desert. There is a whisper of Hope in the pattering of the raindrops on my window. Oh, I shall tire of it soon enough, when winter sets in, and there isn’t enough sunshine to warm the solar panels of my boiler and heat my water and my electricity bills start to soar. I shall hate it when it grows dark by five in the afternoon, making me feel it’s even later than it is and making me regret my decision to put in a couple of hours overtime at work. But for now, it’s all new and fresh and different.
And yet, autumn has a terrible sadness about it, a presentiment of death, for it is the harbinger of winter. Winter, on the other hand, bears the hope of spring ahead, just around the corner, if you will and is, for that reason, somehow less depressing. Still, the coming of shorter, colder days, has its advantages. Apart from the desperately needed rainfall (which, in my ideal world, would fall only at night, when I’m tucked up snugly in bed ), I now have an excuse to refurbish my wardrobe. (Why is it that I always seem to have some clothes which I can wear year after year, and yet items which I purchased only a few months ago no longer seem to fit me?) Furthermore, October marks the start of the new season for the country’s cultural institutions. Although the first opera on my own subscription list is not till January, the opera season actually starts next month , and the concert season has already begun. Now that even the latecomers have returned from their vacations, choir activities are at last in full swing, with several projects ahead of us, including the Liturgica, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra’s Festival of Liturgical Music in December in which we are to sing the Bach Magnificat and Mendelssohn’s Song of Praise (Lobgesang ). Plenty to keep us occupied till spring.
Oh, and one final thing. Not everything is dying. Soon (I hope) my Christmas cactus will flower (it’s capricious, so I can’t be sure). Nor will it be alone. Cyclamens also love the cold weather and I believe the one on the window-sill of my study will reward me for my devoted care. My bougainvillea is once more adding its brilliant colour to my balcony and even the winter jasmine has taken on a new lease of life. Finally, my geraniums bloom several times a year. I have even known them to survive a blanket of snow. Nor have they failed me now. With the coming of autumn, they are in bloom again.