"I do not want to live forever. Not in this place, not in this life, which is only a preparation for the life to come. Over a lifetime of autumns embraced and understood, we soften, we ripen, we mature, we are made ready for the harvest and invited by wisdom to delight in the fullness of nature and, if we have lived wisely and loved well, in the fullness of our own natures. Rilke's prayer in "Autumn Day":

Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine;
give them further two more summer days
to bring about perfection and to raise
the final sweetness in the heavy wine.

Some people find autumn doleful, because the numinous awareness it brings of the truth of the human condition of our longing for the eternal within the limits of the temporal makes them sad. But then again, some people can't tolerate stories without a happy ending. For those who find comfort in wisdom and rest in finitude, autumn is the most philosophically consoling time of the year," - Rod Dreher.

James Wood treats the same subject in another brilliant little review here.

(Photo: Peter McDiarmid/Getty.)

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