Autumn is the third season of the year and has been associated with many depressing times. Autumn has also defined as the "season of early decay." The phrase, "Autumn Years", means the final years of someone's life. John Keats portrays his feelings on how this season is affected by be the idea of death in the poem, "To Autumn." He uses the season, autumn, to show how the change of the season is closely related to the change of life. He explains his reasons by comparing life to a harvest in three stanzas. Each stanza represents birth, life, and death. Throughout the poem, time progresses slowly like the seasons. Keats uses time and autumn to reveal that life can be beautiful, but also short; so enjoy it, and to remember that everything in life has a purpose.
"The season of mists and mellow fruitlessness," in the first stanza represents early autumn, the beginning of life. He compares the harvest to a human life. In harvesting, crops begin to grow and mature to reach the stage where they can be collected and stored for next winter. In life, someone is born; they grow up until the time comes for them to move out on their own to start a family. "Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; conspiring with him how to load and bless," furthermore illustrates a mother to child relationship. He believes that, just as harvests need sunlight to grow; a child also needs a mother to grow. .
As time passes, the second stanza shows the outcome of ripening crops. The gathering of the crops is now taking place. "Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours," in the life sense means, a person's life has gone through the cycle and now at the stage to end. Keats uses "the gleaner," the gather sleeping it the gully to symbolize how life needs to be taken slowly and enjoyed. Also he expresses autumn as a female goddess, often seen sitting on the granary floor, her hair, "soft-lifted" by the wind, and often seen sleeping in the fields or watching a cider-press squeezing the juice from the apples.