Forever Autumn…

The Earths continual pitch has placed us into Autumn – to me, one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The moors burst into bright purples and the trees slowly turn to reds, yellows and browns.  Leaves rain down in the freshening winds and the nights draw in.  Morning dew settles upon the grass as the evenings chill becomes more apparent.  Autumn signals the slow end to a year I suspect many people would rather forget.  Many lives lost, families forced apart and plans either cancelled or indefinitely put on hold.  COVID-19 has changed our lives for the future, but I don’t think we should sit in the doldrums.  Every Autumn brings change before the grip of winter takes hold and I love that change…

Nothing lasts forever and we all should remember that.  The Summer sunshine many enjoyed is fading away as Autumns cloak falls earlier every evening. I’ve rigged my house for ‘Winter Running’ and the smell of burning wood fills my house as do the dulcet tones of classical music and the chink of a whisky glass.  It’s a time to walk in the day and relax in the evenings.  Reflection is a huge part of my life and as I sit, watching the flickering flames, I consider the year so far.  It started with so much promise, which was dashed by something we can’t see, taste or feel.  For many, it’s been the hardest year of their lives and it’s easy to fall into a deep pit of anxiety, sit in pity and feel lost.  For some of us it’s been a non-stop time of work, care and creativity.  Boredom is something I’ve not suffered, because I’ve never had the time..!  As a society we’ve seen the best and worst in people, created thousands of new ideas and hopefully changed for the better.  Now is not the time to forget the days where thousands walked the paths of this land for fresh air and exercise. We must continue enjoying the outdoors and learn better how to respect it.

Autumn began for me in the Dolomites of Northern Italy.  Though the trees there may be evergreen, some of the flowers were starting to turn and the nights were beginning to draw in.  The days however were still roaring hot and I came home sporting quite embarrassing tan lines..!

Over the next few weeks, the leaves at home began to fade.  Conkers fell from the Horse Chestnuts I played around as a child and the hedgerows thinned.  Cool winds whistled between the trees and a homely feeling crept over me.  During COVID I’ve been literally working shifts in the dark, keeping the lights burning in thousands of homes and businesses.  I’ve made the best of the days and that’s something we must all do.  Working shifts allows me to get out into daylight regularly and enjoy the outdoors when the hills are quieter.  I may have been a DJ in my twenties, pumping house music out at deafening volumes, but now I much prefer peace and quiet.  Open fields, patterned by Autumns colours bring home many childhood memories, which regardless of the weather, give me an inner warmth.  My grandparents lived in a different age, filled with coal fires, home cooking and feather duvets.  Perhaps in a way I’m still clinging onto those memories, though sadly I have no children to pass them onto…

I’d hoped to spend a few days in my Camper Van, looking at the beautiful Autumn colours in both the Lake District and Western Scotland, but a few days ago, the Track and Trace App on my phone burst into life.  A friend had tested positive for COVID-19 and I’ve had to Self-Isolate for two weeks.  All my plans have been thrown into the bin and I am forced to stay at home.  I’m looking at what Autumn I can from the wrong side of a windowpane. Thankfully I’m well stocked with whisky, but to be honest, there’s not enough in the world. I have plenty of work, but it just doesn’t feel right doing it when the hills are calling, even though it’s the correct action to take.

So many more cancellations are still to come, events to be deferred, meetings to be postponed.  This Autumn cannot last forever, but even through the depths of winter, through the longest and darkest tunnels, our spring will come…

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