When Everything is a Metaphor for Infertility

One autumn afternoon, I was looking out at our garden and the beautiful old trees that live around us, some more than 20 metres tall, and that started a train of thought.

I said to myself, sadly, that perhaps I too was a tree in autumn (you’re going to have to bear with me, this is going to get worse before it gets better …). In my self-imposed little tragedy, I said to myself that I had passed both spring, with its promise of bloom and growth, as well as summer’s glorious unfurling. At 44, I was, at best, in what the Americans so eloquently call “fall” (that really helped the sad moment along, I can tell you). Perhaps I was asking my life to reflect a completely unnatural state of events, expecting my body to conceive a child at this age – to flower in autumn? And, I confess, I wallowed in that thought for a little.

Luckily, in addition to spotting odd metaphors in back gardens, I also happen to be an optimist and curious and I was struck by a question that popped into my mind mid-wallow: Are there actually trees that flower in autumn? It took but a few seconds for that thought to manifest a Google search and, patient reader, would you believe it, there are simply dozens of trees and shrubs that put on their finest show in autumn! Like me, they were busy doing other things in spring and summer. Unlike me, they hadn’t been agonising over an arbitrary mental boundary about when they should be bearing flowers.

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