Impending Gloom… Farewell to Autumn!

This weekend, the clocks went back. Friends on social media have been beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of an extra hour in bed.

Which makes me think they must be doing something seriously wonderful in that bed; after all, the trade off is five months of horrid grey light, dark afternoons and full beam at five o’clock.

Writers often get wistful when they write about this time of year and I totally get it. My relationship with autumn has changed enormously as I’ve grown older.

As a young person, I embraced the season. It meant a return to school or university after the hiatus of summer, and shrieked fresh starts and newness, friends and possibilities.

I’d ensure that I took a holiday just before the return in order to look as tanned and glamorous as possible; all part of that self-reinvention the season demanded.

I pored over the AW new season clothes in the magazines, planning my ‘transitional wardrobe.’ I had a boyfriend who especially liked me in thick, black tights. As a consequence, I couldn’t wait to shroud my legs in them. The colder weather couldn’t come quickly enough.

Of course, Autumn is a fickle season. I have stood on a touchline dressed in those bloody tights and a cashmere jumper sweating like a gorilla and cursing the October sunshine. Benign autumn days be damned!

Autumn was nothing to worry about, merely a stopping point on the journey to Winter. I wanted to get through Autumn and straight to the dark. When you are a young woman, lots of great things happen in the dark.

If Facebook had existed then, I’d have been alerting everybody to that extra hour in bed. And boy, would I have made it count.

The years passed. Autumn started to take on new meanings.

I had produced offspring. Children change everything. Especially September.

My boys would return to school after the pleasant chaos of the summer holidays and it was hell.

Getting them out of the door so they could be at school on time and not in their pyjamas was a pressure. Sewing name tapes on individual socks was a chore. Ok, for five minutes it made me feel like a proper mother, but thereafter it was just a fag. Paying the school fees catapulted us once more into debt.

I’ve always loved the summer and with the children I just loved it more. September would loom large ready to put the kibosh on all the fun.

It heralded only endings. The end of the hols, of the games on the beach, the garden parties, the walking round town in flip flops, the spontaneity of empty days.

In their place autumn brought routine, shorter days, longer grass and Christmas catalogues.

I resented it.

But the world kept on turning and so did I.

My children are older now and want to spend their summer holidays doing stuff with their friends. They don’t want to snooze on a sun lounger in the Med; why bother with flights and hotels when they can happily snooze days away in their own beds?

So Summer has started to change shape for me. I still bloody love it, but I’ve come to welcome September.

The autumn in Executive Youth has become a place of peace and good telly.  The beach is quiet in October and you can walk dogs on it. The children are back at school and the house and the shops are tranquil. 

And I know I’ve matured, not only because I don’t rush to break out the 40 Deniers, but because I have come to appreciate something called ‘Autumn Colour’.

Twenty years ago, I’d have assumed this to be a reddish shade in a range of hair colourants. Now I know it’s something to marvel at. And you can see it anywhere! In parks, on the side of motorways, behind the Co-op… even my own garden is putting on a bit of a show.

As the world around me changes from the sun kissed blonde of summer to the vibrant ginger of autumn, I totally get the whole Keats ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ thing.  I might thrill to a swelling gourd myself, these days.

Mother Nature is like a blowsy variety queen belting out a song before the curtain falls and she finds herself dropped from the running order. 

And now, as the clocks go back, I’m really going to miss her. 

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