It’s that time of year again, when the seasons begin to change. Leaves are falling from the trees and there’s that smell of Autumn in the air, or as those Yanks call it ‘Fall’. The idea of falling somewhat defines this Autumnal period: the clocks go back, the nights draw in, and we spiral with increasing speed towards the festive season.
There are other, more pertinent, reminders of falling at this time of year too: those that fell from the Twin Towers, over 10 years ago; the falling economic markets that are hurtling into an increasingly severe and seemingly endless depression. The notion of falling seems bound with negative connotations. Falling implies helplessness and passivity. There is also the enduring biblical symbolism of ‘The Fall of Man’, whereby falling is conflated with sinning, immorality and the devil. The image of the fallen woman is an iconic feature in art, literature and theatre.
However, falling can also be interpreted as something positive and beautiful. An audience is often captivated by the sight of a dancer falling elegantly in a complex choreography of movements. Music is embellished with the cadence of falling notes. Falling can be decisive and powerful: taking the plunge from a diving board, a bungee jump, or metaphorically leaping into a new job, relationship or lifestyle. Surely there is nothing more beautiful than falling in love? The risk of falling holds promise and excitement. To fall is a blend of inevitability and intentionality. Perhaps the ambiguity of falling is its most alluring feature?
In this issue of Beat, our writers explore the various interpretations of falling, with responses ranging from extracts of prose, reviews, poetry, photography and essays.
Fall into Autumn, and all that it brings.