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Towards the end of summer, when the dull sun’s heat had lost its harshness, autumn began before it was autumn, with a mild and endlessly indefinite sadness, as if the sky didn’t feel like smiling. Its blue was sometimes lighter, sometimes greener, from the lofty colour’s own lack of substance. There was a kind of forgetfulness in the subdued purple tones of the clouds. It was no longer a torpor but a tedium that filled the lonely expanses where the clouds go by.
The real beginning of autumn was announced by a coldness in the air’s non-coldness, by a subduing of the still unsubdued colours, by something of shadow and distance in the tint of the landscapes and the fuzzy countenance of things. Nothing was going to die yet, but everything — as in a still unformed smile — looked longingly back at life.
Finally the full autumn came. The air turned cold and windy; leaves rustled with a dry sound, even if they weren’t dry; the ground took on a final smile faded as eyelids drooped and gestures flagged. And so everything that feels, or that we imagine feels, pressed its own farewell tight against its breast. A sound of whirling wind in a courtyard wafted through our consciousness of something else. Convalescence appealed as a way of at least truly feeling life.
But the first rains of winter, falling already in the now harsh autumn, washed away these halftones without respect. High winds howled against whatever was fixed, stirred up whatever was tied, swept along whatever was movable, and pronounced — between the rain’s loud outbursts — absent words of anonymous protest, sad and almost angry sounds of glum despair.
And at last autumn coldly and greyly ceased. What came now was an autumn of winter, with the dust of everything becoming the mud of everything, but there was also a foretaste of the winter cold’s good side: the harsh summer behind us, spring on its way, and autumn finally taking shape as winter. And in the lofty sky, whose dull tones no longer recalled heat or sadness, everything was propitious to night and indefinite meditations.
That’s how it was for me before I thought about it. If I write it down today, it’s because I remember it. The autumn I have is the one I lost.
— Pessoa, A Factless Autobiography