My favourite time of year is finally here when the shift in daylight is suddenly noticeable, along with the dip in temperatures and a sense of a slide into nature’s seasonal reinvention. It triggers me pulling-up a metaphoric drawbridge into the autumn.
Whilst friends lament over the loss of another summer or chase extending their summer abroad, I am welcoming the changing hue of the leaves, the longer shadows and an inner sense of change – a new beginning. I get excited with the exchange of seasons and it hits a spot in the way transition into spring never quite does.
The change incites expectation, a promise of things to come, which leaves me energised and refreshed after the assault of the summer – whether it has been a hot one or a wet one.
I have often wondered why I savour this part of the year above all others so much. I was born during the second half of August – as this was when I took my first breath in life, perhaps there is a primordial connection so integral that I cannot, nor would want to, shake.
Of course autumn falls in line with the academic year. I generally didn’t enjoy school but going back in September was almost as good as the day we all said our goodbyes for the long summer break. Having new things was a treat as I grew up and invariably in September we would have the excitement of a new pair of shoes, replacement uniform, plus pens and pencils. Oh for the total distraction of a new pair of shoes; whether I was guilty of ignoring the conversation of friends as I surveyed my feet squashing the leaves on the ground, or day-dreaming gazing at my feet under my desk in the classroom, focus was on my newest acquisition until the novelty wore off.
The autumn brings with it the change of outdoor colours and many of us continue to reflect this with our attire. I savour the day I get my winter clothes down from the attic and do the exchange with my hardly worn beach clothes. I relish the first windy dry day when I freshen up all my jumpers and fleeces, watching them dancing about in the breeze from indoors.
As I delve through forgotten outfits, I sieve out what no longer fits or is unacceptably out of fashion, making a mental note of what I need to replace. This leads to more excitement as I give myself permission for a shopping spree. I retrieve newly heeled footwear from the cobbler which is almost as good a fix as buying a brand new pair of boots. I can feel the anticipation rising of covering-up my arms and legs, the pulling on of socks and walking around the house with a top to toe protective warm layer. I prefer my warmth delivered by fabric rather than having limbs exposed as the summer months usually demand.
This is before I even get to my hats, scarves and gloves. Unlike summer, autumn is the time I do not have to worry about my hair getting damp and losing its style, because I just cover it up. The seasons colour changes also sees me tossing out the blonde hair dye and bringing on the red hair tones. Boosted by the power of the summer, my hair gets a good cut, as do my nails, both of which seem to have taken on a growth-spurt over the last few weeks. I go through my makeup bag and relegate anything too summery like the pale shimmery lipsticks.
What we eat changes. I buy different foods. Goodbye salads, hello organically harvested root vegetables from the garden. The tins on my shelves suddenly strain under the weight. Just in case we get snowed in.
Downstairs, the two woodburner grates have been cleared and the logs are ready. I start recording and downloading box-sets ready for the cold, dark evenings. #GoT Game of Thrones 2017 is top of that list.
As the light fades and the days shorten, for some it feels a bit like going into a tunnel with little sight of reprieve. For me, autumn pays homage to my inherently lazy streak – I gain great satisfaction from the comparative inactivity of cupping my hands around a hot drink in front of the television and wearing my ‘comfies’ (pyjamas) as my young nieces put it.
Not that being outside can’t be enjoyable in the autumn. Daylight strolls with jackets buttoned up to the neck, collars turned up, gloves on, a warm hat to the strains of my boots crunching through frozen leaves on a sunny day, just does it for me.
Outside or inside, autumn is my time – time to pull up that drawbridge, catch up with some television viewing, read books; time to use the excuse of the lack of daylight to lie in with the newspaper; time to take stock, to reinvent myself – all the things I do not get time for or have the motivation for in the summer. But please DON’T tease me with those idyllic chilly starts and warm afternoons! Stay cool the whole day through…