Words by James Harris
Walking through an autumn day, I come across an empty bench in a park surrounded by a carpet of fallen leaves, whilst above it overhanging branches dressed in fire and gold shelter and frame whatever memories may be made beneath. It promises something worth stopping for, inviting a pause into distracted lives spent with heads too often held down, the splendour around us blurred beyond recognition by haste. It brings to mind romance and friendship, enough space to sit two people close, side by side, hands held lovingly between. Warmed by intimacy and thick clothes wrapped like safety around bodies braced against an invigorating chill, secluded couples in a quiet corner of a park can look out together at this quintessentially autumnal scene, in the reassuring realization that solitude, unlike loneliness, can be shared.
For me, autumn safeguards a familiar happiness recalled from my deep rooted past. It reminds me of the comforting certainty of a warm, loving home, always there waiting. Its dependable return, easing summer into winter at the end of each year, reassures me that, even things that seem forgotten and erased by the persistent march of days following days, even though things leave us, they can still come back.
Photographs by Neil Harrison