Is it the quality of the air that changes or the light?
In a day we seem to go from full summer to the herald of autumn, I wonder what it is that marks this transition? The sun still shines between the showers and the days remain warm. Then an unlikely chill attaches itself to dusk and dawn. I have mixed feelings as I see the sun slip from the sky earlier each evening, there is a melancholy twist in its departure. Too soon, too soon - I am not ready to put away the bunting or pack up the picnic. I didn’t get away from the city often enough. What was I thinking when I spent one of the hottest days of this summer chained to my computer? That’s the nature of life and of time I suppose. I grew up in the country; from my current aging vantage point I wonder why have I spent the majority of my life in the city?
The coming of autumn has its compensations. I can put down the burden of hope; the hope that it will eventually stop raining (remember how this year began) and the hope that my children will idle contentedly at the beach and not squabble – actually they are now far too old to squabble ̶ they argue cynically about the state of the planet and politics, rather than whose turn it is to bat or field in a game of beach cricket. These days as I sit on the beach hut alone, listening to other people’s children who knock down castles and refuse to take turns; children that throw sand and stomp off to the large dune to sulk.
Then there is the beginning of the academic year. My students have started to send me their writing; my courses begin. I relish that back to school feeling. I like work. It is one of the great joys of my life, I like creative work, but I also like industry – in whatever form. I derive great satisfaction from achieving something; it doesn’t have to be portentous or earth shatteringly brilliant. Cleaning can be a pleasure, on those rare occasions when it doesn’t feel like servitude. I think that one of the joys of approaching autumn is the darkness of the night sky the time to read, think and make cosy. I am still hanging on to summer wearing my white linen and keeping my feet bare; I have yet to resort to socks. But it won’t be long before I open up my store of sweaters and sturdy boots, revelling in thick comforting garments with enthusiasm, knowing that come the spring and the, by then, longed for summer I will revel in the colours of my linen and the wonderful endless blue of the sky.
Please go to the shorts and images page for this month’s writing task.