As I walked son number one to school there was a definite nip in the air and a scent of autumn in the breeze, while for some this might herald the onset of raging SAD as they mourn the disappearance of summer (such that it was), the crunch of crisp brown leaves underfoot and the tang of bonfire smoke on the air fills me with a tiny thrill of anticipation.
Autumn has always been my favourite time of year, perhaps because it's my birthday in September, so the arrival of the cool weather and darker nights are forever associated with parties, cake and presents. But more than that my perfect day is clear, crisp and chilly, the sky a searing ice blue, the trees shedding their leaves to spend the winter months in stark, majestic beauty, the grass a vivid emerald green, rather than the parched, dry brown of summer. The evenings draw in and windows glow orange and welcoming with lights turned on, the streetlights haloed with mist as the evening chill takes hold.
I love the festivals of winter, bright lights of celebration to raise our spirits in these dark and cold months. Halloween, with its imported pumpkins and trick or treating, and also the birthday of my first ever boy. Children shrieking in the streets and ghouls and goblins knock from door to door in search of sweet treats, jack 'o' lanterns grinning crooked bright grins in dark doorways. Warming suppers of thick soup, crisp baked potatoes with crackling skin splitting to reveal their fluffy contents just begging for an indulgent slick of golden butter. Fireworks glittering in a frosty night sky, exploding into a million jewel bright sparkles on a velvet black background.
The earth rich and wet, dark and fecund, mud squelching underfoot on a rainy day, puddle jumping with the boys, watching as wellies fill with water to their delight, cold feet forgotten in the gratifying spray of water that soaks all around. Searching for conkers in the park, splitting their spikily hostile shells to reveal the satin sheen of their dark brown fruit, a natural gem that takes pride of place amidst the tangle of plastic toys to be found, long forgotten, shrivelled and wizened months later.
The shine of car headlines on a dark road, a city made magical, the mundane masked by darkness leaving a map of fairground lights in its place. Children rushing back to school, uniforms stiff and new, little hands pulling at unfamiliar ties, new friends to make, new lessons to learn. Spring might be the season of rebirth, but autumn to me has always been the season of possiblities.
And of course the real reason that I love autumn so much is because it means next stop Christmas. I know I am meant to come over all grown up and Scrooge like bemoaning commerciality and hard work, but I just love Christmas from hunting for sparkling baubles to filling my house with the warm, spicy fug of boiling puddings. But that I feel merits a whole new post, and unlike the shops I don't want to lay out my festive wares until much nearer to the big day.
PS FDMTG has found fame at last with a mention on LBC's website. Here's to lots of new readers and if you did find me that way, welcome and please make yourself at home in the madhouse.