The changes arrive slowly. First it’s the early morning chill that makes you realise all of a sudden that it is not enough to don just a Lycra vest and shorts to cycle to work. Next it is the jumper one throws on to nip out to the shops or the tweed jacket bought in Brick Lane for a tenner that becomes our companion on informal outings. Tea goes back to its usual hot state instead of the iced variety favoured in summer (either way I am not a tea drinker, so that one does not apply to me). Hot chocolates and mochas, on the other hand, become my poison of choice.
It's autumn again.
Autumn is nature’s way of frowning upon the landscape. An auburn, orange, golden and red type of frown. A multi-coloured mist that descends upon us all. All the merriment of summer is drowned out by the early October showers. This is swiftly followed by an ankle-deep swamp of fallen leaves on the ground. By early December the autumn brown becomes winter brown until eventually it turns a winter white with the first snowfall.
But this year autumn has not shown its face in my part of London. We have had the washouts, oh, yes, we’ve had those. However, leaves remain a stubborn green, the seasonal crimson not yet a reality. I wait patiently until the front wheel of my bike parts the sea of leaves on my way to work turning me into a Moses for the day, as I do every year. I long for the dramatic sunsets, earlier, yes, but still dramatic. I feel jealous of you, country dwellers, witnesses to berry-gorging birds and filling up your lungs with the scent of heather.
Autumn is a season of longing, or as the Portuguese would put it, a season of saudade, one of my favourite words ever. My preference for this time of the year does not stem from the date on my birth certificate. No, even if I had been born in a different month of the year I would still have willingly changed the date in my certificate to September, October or November. I’m an autumn sign, regardless of the Zodiac. Central to this is the question of nostalgia, melancholy and remembrance. The way tree branches, pregnant with green leaves, grow thin in a matter of weeks reminds me of loss. Autumn’s music is a bandoneón, a fiddle, Bach’s “Italian” period and the wind softly whispering in my ear. What is it saying, you might wonder? Nature’s frown is on its way, kid, fret not.
So, I wait. Still, I wait.
Photo taken by the blog author
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