The Damps Of Autumn – W.S. Landor [Quote]

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The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. W.S. Landor (1775 – 1864)

I read that quote, once, twice; ten times. I wonder what unspoken grief pressed his hand to the parchment to pen those lines? How often he must have felt the ‘damps of autumn’ seeping into his soul, and felt a heaviness of step, and weary bones?

Face-to-face with his own mortality; the author bleeds ink to his page. Now nearly 150 years after his death, I read those lines, and think I know what was going on in his soul: Are we ‘detached from our tenacity of life’ merely by age, or as Landor wrote: ‘by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow’ ?

I sense a deep rift between life, and the prospect of death, as though he is weighing the cost, and the benefits of continuing despite the toil and pain. When we are young, we have that sharp ‘tenacity’ to hold on. The very concept of youth is wrapped up in a veracity to live, and a feeling of immortality.

The older we are; the less death seems a specter to be fought, and more it seems an old friend to be embraced.

There is a light in your eyes; I can not explain its source.

Perhaps you can; has there ever been a moment that held you in sway? When you scarce could bear to move lest you break the sweet spell of silence. What ever it was that triggered that spark of thought/feeling I do not know for it will be different to each soul, but it must be there.

Have you ever stopped in sorrow for a sight that passed something that triggered one small buried memory perhaps? Has ever your heart jumped a beat for one second of pure joy? Sometimes upon waking from a sweet dream of peace I ponder what the future may hold.

Can the hope and joy of being content and whole that seems so close within a sleeping dream come into reality? And could the whole of your existence be worth that short sweet moment?

-EJH

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