An autumn in Sweden

We have all moved on with our lives since I left Brazil. With families and children to attend to, responsibilities to care for that at times sap one’s energy, worried if the pandemic would make one unemployed, busy WFH or in the lab and hoping to finish projects that will bring publications and grants, hoping that the virus will not wreck more havoc on already tormented souls and take pity on humans and seek recluse elsewhere.

Over a year and a half, I have been writing weekly letters to my family and relatives on Whatsapp giving them a taste of my life be it UK or Sweden. Recently I wrote something about autumn and I thought this is a good opportunity to share what I have written with you which I have not done so for a good two years or so other than the new year greetings that I send every year.

Perhaps it is the wish to cherish fond memories that nudged me to send this email, knowing very well that older memories get buried and will be topped up inevitably with newer memories as one moves on with their lives. Knowing very well that life will simply be doing its duty as it extracts memories for its survival and agreeably one could not possibly be in touch with many people at the same time even if one wishes to, 
all one can wish is good health, a shoulder to lean on in times of need and a peek into the memory treasure and to bring a selected few to the fore, with the hope that these will bring about a feeling of rejuvenation and that is precisely the aim of this email if you ask me. 

And words. Words enable us to imagine more than what is said, yet a word can never become the thing that is described. Words are all we have to communicate and we try to do that as effectively as we can. So here is my description of autumn.

near Bergsjön, Gothenburg

The leaves change their colours: from green to orange red to yellow. They lose their life blood, and become brittle and dry, merely a burden to the once plush tree, as even the mild winter Sun scalds their tops. 

Vasagatan, Gothenburg

What a lovely sight it is to see the rain of leaves fall on the ground as the gentle breeze shakes the leaves off the trees without its knowledge and bereaves its million little factories.  

Första Långgatan, Gothenburg

The  fallen leaves would arrange themselves around the bicycles that are parked to the metal pole as though to indicate that they would rather stay close to their abode than be picked up by gigantic vacuum machines at the crack of dawn.

Linnégatan, Gothenburg

Sometimes, the brightly coloured leaves would temporarily bedeck the bicycle lanes before the rain plays spoilsport and exerts its authority, squelching the high spirits of city dwellers.

iPad drawing by me

Les jeunes feuilles that once appeared after a great effort by pushing through the tough exterior of woody barks will soon wither away on the ground becoming brown and mushy catalysed by the incessant autumn drizzle that pounds their surfaces and dissolves their once held radiance. 

Masthuggskyrkan, Gothenburg

The lush green leaves that were once held in space on twigs and slants, that once trickled light through their velvety surfaces and on whose bosom insects and birds nested their offspring are gone.

Masthuggskyrkan, Gothenburg

The leaves that so brilliantly emerged when the carbon dioxide molecules that were exhaled by the city bikers on their way from Järntorget to Chalmers and cajoled by Sun’s summer beams to convert the nuisance of a greenhouse gas into cellulose and chlorophyll, and that provided form and substance to the tall and broad trees, and plenty of shade on a hot sunny day, are gone.

Hampshire, UK

The trees will remain barren, their  silhouette visible from afar, the crackles of crows and birds very clear unhindered by the leafy carpets. The opportunistic predatory birds would circle around the tree tops, jubilant at the sight of exposed flesh of broodlings on the branches of barren trees.

The trees will stand stark naked bereft of life, waiting for the Sun to get a tad bit warmer as they work hard to save their energy and come out yet again when Spring strikes, with spectacular flowers, to entice the bees, the birds and families with children, the elderly and the singles.

Södra Allégatan, Gothenburg

Meanwhile, I will continue to bike every day, with trams cross crossing, with e-scooters swishing past me, hardcore cyclists with their ultra light bikes and skin tight clothing effortlessly gliding in the air.

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