Thursday, September 25, 2003

Ode to Autumn 

I love this time of year. Early mornings that are clear, bright and chilly; sometimes a misty start adding a touch of mystery to the world until the sun breaks through; warm but not-too-hot days; maybe needing a pullover on later in the evening – a foretaste of cosy evenings to come.

I love too the constant variety of the seasons. Years seem to be just the right length to provide a perfect balance between consistency and change. Experiencing the present then moving on. Always an expectation of something new; the familiar always returning, but never quite twice the same.

As a young child, four of my favourite books were a set in the Ladybird series (remember them?) called “The Countryside in Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter”. This series has changed in style over the years; mine dated back to a time when the world felt, to a child, to be a simple, honest, secure place, filled with things to wonder at and explore. Growing up on the edge of the London suburbs, I had only an idealised view of what the English countryside was like, later fuelled by books like Richmal Crompton’s “William” series. Autumn would be characterised by harvesting golden fields; bright berries in hedgerows; sweeping up the leaves and making bonfires in the garden.

Days like today have some of the character of that idealised world; the perfect autumn described by the poet Keats. The world feels for a moment that much closer to my childhood ideal, especially when I’m truly experiencing it with full awareness, immersed in it as I am when I cycle to work. I guess that’s why it feels good.

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