Autumn

It’s that time of year again. We mourn the end of summer. The end of flip flops. The end of al fresco dining. The end of strawberries. We brace ourselves for the beginning of a frostbitten winter, reluctant to be swept forwards in a blustery breeze. But is autumn all it isn’t cracked up to be?

Colours in fashion this season include dulcet hues of mellow yellow, glitter gold and warm-up orange. Rosy pinks and cucumber greens melt into rich fire reds and popcorn creams. Blushing leaves flutter groundwards like a whisper, weaving yet another texture into a tapestry of silk and crunch, crackle and soft. A playful wind teases rusty leaves, tickling them into spirals that twinkle and dance in the breeze coming to rest, finally, on the pile of leaves painstakingly collected by a gardener and his rake. Suddenly, a childlike desire to jump backwards, arms stretched wide, eyes shut, into the leafy pillows. A playground for the young hearted. A paradise for hedgehogs.

Hopes for sunshine and blue skies are forgotten. Naturally, then, the chances of sunny rays are greatly increased. The sun that seemed so timid and shy throughout the summer months, now peeps through the clouds like a child with a glowing smile. Golden light pours through branches, windows, fingertips. The Midas Touch. Tired skies are transformed into honey and butter yellow that coats both countryside and city alike in a palatial glow. Carpets of velvet, ceilings of gold. A rich landscape adorned with a kaleidoscope of jewels that glitter and glow. Trees rain gold, ruby, amber and garnet.

The air is fresh, full of chill yet devoid of bite. No need for a winter coat, a light jacket is perfectly suitable with a chunky scarf wrapped around your neck. Feet and toes breathe a sigh of relief, protected and warm in woolen socks that nestle comfortably inside toasty boots. Fingers poke through almost-gloves, snuggling up to a mug of strong, milky tea that is cupped like a knot between both hands. Wisps of steam float gracefully into the air, ghostlike ballerinas dancing on a cloud.

The pace changes in Autumn, the tone settles. We can take our time. There’s no rush now, the summertime buzz has softened into a sigh. Wasps are mellow, drunk on fallen apples. Autumn apples, apples galore. Steaming hot apple pie, humble blackberry and apple crumble, apple and cinnamon eat-me-now muffins. Thick creamy drinks and comfort food are socially acceptable once again. No one will notice the loosened belt hidden behind layers of cotton and wool. In fact, an extra layer around the middle would certainly be appreciated in the bleak mid winter.

Conkers. Memories of school days.

Kick kick kicking bundles of foliage. Going out of your way to step on that crunchy leaf. Priceless satisfaction.

Get that extra blanket out and wrap up warm. It’s going to be a spectacular show.

The Americans call this season ‘Fall’. I call it ‘Fall in Love’.