I love this time of year. Spring and Autumn both make my fingers and soul tingle with possibilities and excitement. I think that I would hate to live somewhere where the seasons remain the same. I have grandparents who live in Arizona where the temperature moves from hot to hotter and back again and, whilst lovely to visit, living there would be a purgatory to me.
I love the anticipation of a new season, knowing the leaves and flowers will all change, the landscape will alter so that it becomes unknown again, new celebrations and festivities are approaching. At this time of year it is the obvious ones: Halloween/Samhain with it's dark mysteries, excited children and wonderful seasonal food and sweets, Guy Fawke's Night with it's fireworks and bonfires and the coming of Christmas/Yule, with it's merrymaking and festivities, carols and Christmas songs, food and drinks, gifts and laughter, my husband all to myself for two weeks.
But there's the little things, too, like the clocks going back, when it gets dark at 4pm and you come back to a warm, bright home that feels like a little oasis of saftey in the dark night, the weather turning chill, with frosts crunching under your feet and rain and wet winds blowing, when you put an extra duvet on the bed, warm your toes on your husband's warm legs and snuggle in together, talking in whispers under the covers like at a sleepover, giggling when the cats walk over you, or try to get in under the covers where it's warm.
I love the new range of foods that become available and how it's appropriate to make stews, soups, pies, casseroles and big roast dinners after the summer's diet of salads and sandwiches. I love winter walks and wrapping up warm in a scarf and hat. I love how much sexier winter underwear is - for city living, anyway. Skirts with stockings and heels instead of hot-weather bare legs and sandals, then the equal joy of ugly thermal undies that make you giggle and look away from the mirror but keep you oh-so-warm.
I love when the leaves blow off the trees and you can kick through them like a big kid and watch them flutter back to the earth. I still get pleasure from seeing the horse chestnut trees develop their fruit, watch the spiny globes turn brown and crispy, then split open to reveal their creamy flesh and the glossy conker kernel within. Even better this year - I get to make something useful with them and try out a recipe for a horse chestnut tincture and (maybe) gel: meant to be good for varicose veins... not sure I know anyone who'd be flattered by a gift like that, mind, so perhaps I won't make the effort just yet, not when there's so much else to harvest.
I love this early part of Autumn when all the bushes are laden with rich berries and as my knowledge grows, so does my pleasure. This year I'm going to use them to nourish myself and my family. When those fruits are harvested and gone, leaves will fall, leaving skeletons behind that sculpt the landscape with twitching fingers, silhouetted against early sunsets.
When I was out the other day collecting berries I saw a holly bush *laden* with berries - I've never seen anything like it before. If folklore and old wives tales hold true then a hard winter is coming with lots of snow. That's a bad thing for many people, but I relish it - we had our first taste of heavy snow fall this February just gone and it was magical for me. Hubby got snowed off from school and we cuddle up on the sofa drinking hot ribena and watching crappy daytime TV, occasionally venturing outside to go sledging.
But right now I have to go finish my qualification so I can get a job, so I can buy the glass bottles to put things in that I make and make sure hubby is relaxed enough about finances that we can enjoy ourselves! So enough wurbling and nose back to the grindstone.
Celebrating forty years
2 months ago