Friday, 7 October 2011
Autumn has arrived.
The country shakes off its unrealistic and unfulfilled hopes for summer and settles itself comfortably into the damp, homely season that will slide us slowly into winter.
People pack their shorts away in well-travelled suitcases, wondering mournfully whether they'll still fit into them next summer, dust off their winter coats, and remember with annoyance that they somehow ended last winter with only one woolly glove.
They hunch their shoulders as they leave their houses, muttering miserably about the cold, and Christmas slides stealthily into their conversations making them puff their cheeks and shake their heads whilst trying to hide the excitement in their eyes.
There's an all-pervading smell of damp that lingers around the bases of trees and the welly-boots in the hallway, and a chill that creeps under the duvet at night.
And as people retreat back into the warmth of their homes, lighting their fires and simmering soup on their stoves and planning the projects that will keep them company throughout the long, dark nights, the world outside is silently transformed.
Leaves that have danced with the clouds all summer long submit themselves to the inevitability of death and are transfigured in glory before surrendering their souls to the wind.
And the light, filtering through a canopy of gold, shines with a sorrowful softness on the world, making us mindful of our own mortality and conscious of the passage of time and entranced time and time again by the melancholy magic of Autumn.