Autumn Days – E White (1925-2011)

This article was written for the September 2019 issue of our parish magazine.

This is a well-established favourite of our Sunday School! I think the children would choose to sing it every week if they could, but they are strictly limited to autumn only. The tune jauntily takes the singers through a list of experiences, not all of them autumnal, with a regular reminder to say, “thank you”.

Although Estelle White was a well-respected and prolific hymn writer, this is not an overtly religious song. Check the text:

  • Autumn days when the grass is jewelled
  • and the silk inside a chestnut shell,
  • jet planes meeting in the air to be re-filled,
  • all these things I love so well
  • So I mustn’t forget,
  • No, I mustn’t forget,
  • To say a great big thank-you,
  • I mustn’t forget.
  • Clouds that look like familiar faces,
  • and a winter’s moon with frosted rings,
  • smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces,
  • and the song the milkman sings.
  • Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered,
  • and a swallow curving in the sky,
  • shoes so comfy though they’re worn-out and they’re battered,
  • and the taste of apple-pie.
  • Scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling,
  • and a minnow darting down a stream,
  • picked-up engine that’s been stuttering and stalling,
  • and a win for my home team.

We are encouraged to take a moment to sniff the air, to look around and see the details, to hear the sounds and to taste the harvest. No smartphones, no cameras or social media to filter our world view. Be in the moment. Be thankful for it. Protect it.

This month our church will be hosting it’s first EcoWeek. We will be inviting 7-9 year-olds from local schools to visit and participate in a range of activities that will encourage them to develop awareness of how we are all responsible for the care of the natural world. There are currently 7.7 billion people sharing space on our planet. If we each make a few small changes, there will be big differences.

St Margaret’s’ will be open before and after the Harvest Lunch on Saturday 5 October so that you can look at the displays of the children’s work, and be inspired to #DoYourBit too.

You can listen to Autumn Days – and sing along – here:

Carol P

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