She arrived suddenly didn’t she? Autumn. Shrugging her way into our lives with all her stylish nonchalance and turning her nose up at the very idea of letting Summer tint the last of the green tomatoes into anything remotely edible.
It is chilly in the mornings now. Although the doors on to the garden are still flung open as we swirl our Earl Grey with a cinnamon stick, even the wasps seem to have given up and bumble about slowly, banging their heads against the windows, apparently too exhausted by 2020 now to even consider swooping at our faces.
And I am glad. I am glad that Summer is over. The weather seems to have been in quite the most awful muddle, with intense heat shattered by berserk storms and lashing afternoons of rain cruelly breaking the necks of my plants, which as she not quite au fait with the whims of Mother Nature wreaking havoc upon a garden I have never really had before, strikes me as rather outrageous.
Truth is, that these days I spend rather an inordinate amount of time outraged. In fact if I ever took the time to write to a newspaper to share my petty grievances I would be known as Outraged of Burscough, and curmudgeonly middle aged ladies would nod at me in the street in aggrieved understanding that sloping oestrogen rather messes with a woman’s mind and has her in a rage about everything from a rug that won’t behave itself, to the screechy fox that turned out to be a big ginger cat taking it upon itself to scare her precious birdy friends away.
This is a special, temporary kind of madness I am yet to find a calling for.
We have new rituals here. Beef broth rich with vegetables and seeds cooked over the weekend for groundhog weekday lunches we sprinkle with apple cider vinegar and serve with warm sourdough. Trips to the lovely farm up the road for boxes full of kale and bunches of purple carrots, salmon straight from the kind of fishmonger who looks exactly like a fishmonger should: all rosy cheeks and white coated pot belly. Welly-footed stomps up the canal to the host of happy new bars in the Wharf. Community, barges (a whole barge full of knitting yarn that traverses up and down the canal selling her wares!) and gin! Oh, there is always gin to be had. Oh my…
Early mornings again. Although my body creaks with disdain at the very thought of six am mornings again, it is good for me and I feel more settled easing myself gently into the day instead of hurtling headfirst into late morning after the many lie ins the whole family has indulged in so very often since lock-down began. Early mornings, watching the street lamps blink, and enjoying the silence before the lorries start barging their way up our narrow lane. Making sandwiches for the six foot child to take to college. Worrying at my hair in case he misses the bus as he wanders away from the house without a care in the world. Sipping more tea, checking in with my lovely community, and feeling a-ok with spending the day in my kimono, hair high on my head and a face full of nurturing rose balm. Feeling a-ok too with avoiding the news and for a while enjoying the blissful ignorance of closing out the world and worrying only about what I can actually influence here in my own domestic sphere.
Autumn has always been my friend. She is a more reliable, less blousy chum than Summer will ever be. Though she is not the hug Winter so often is, you know where you are with Autumn, and admire her for her owning her decaying predictability with such elegance.
Today then: more broth, more bread. The laundering of my mustard yellow quilt while it is dry enough to fling over the line. A bag to pack for a weekend away, blissfully alone. Just me in a hotel room, re-organising my thoughts for two lovely days. A cucumber plant that grew like so many triffids to deal with. A path to sweep free of the gravel next doors long drive splutters everywhere. A book to read. And an early night after a busy, lovely weekend.
Dear Autumn, you really are so very welcome here.
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