“Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?”
Leto II to Stilgar in Children of Dune. Leto went on to use this question as a vehicle to draw the old Naib’s attention to the changes going on under his nose – in particular, the increase in young women walking around without strict stilsuit discipline, now that there was a relative abundance of moisture on Arrakis.
Just so, I would ask my fellow Joburgers: “Have you noticed how beautiful our gardens are this year?”
We have had a particularly wet summer and now, astronomically in autumn, our gardens are rioting with colour, flowers such as roses abundant, grass – everything – growing green and moist and long. Bees and ants flood into our suburban patches of sustenance and the number of different species of birds seen is increasing.
At the same time, we notice maybe 0.5% of the leaves on deciduous trees are reddening or browning and starting to fall. The nights come on just a touch more quickly, and – blessed heaven – the early mornings remain cool for longer, with wisps of lingering mists across the highways before sunrise.
Changes are in motion. And it is perhaps precisely because of this that we, almost subconsciously, notice the dear and treasured more often, more deeply. Those roses are so fine because they will soon be gone. That grass is so lush and green because within a couple of months it will have turned sere and scraggly.
Deep in each of us the change-alarm is ringing, drawing our attention to the things which soon will pass. Etch these sights and sounds, these scents and breezes, upon your deepest soul memory, for something is also telling us that even seasonal variation is going to look very different, and that quite soon.