Hello! The Summer we've just had has been luxurious! Long, dry days with sparkling, balmy nights. It's been heavenly - so many beautiful sights to alight the soul. Many of us Brits moan about the weather, but this year, it's been more seasonal than I can remember for a long time. I've never seen so many dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies - even the blue butterflies I recall seeing as a child in the fields. It's been idyllic.
But now the harvest is almost done, I wonder what September means to you? It's still a little too warm for my usual mark of September - that cold snap of air in the morning. We have the change in sound, usually September magnifies the sound of activity on the main roads, as thought the morning mists and dew carry the noises. We also have the yellow glow coming through the blinds, the extra penetrative gold light, low and dazzling. But not yet do we have 'my snap'.
September in centuries past used to herald the end of the harvest, especially around the Equinox. The last of the grains and fruits were in, and stored for the forthcoming barren months. It was a thanksgiving, but also a time of looking inward. Years ago, people who'd been banished from communities, were released back into their villages at this time, and to be accepted - they had to repay their debts. This could prove difficult, as the villagers had to these extra mouths from their bounty, despite any ill feelings connected to the reason for their banishment. So it became a time of forgiveness and making amends.
Nowadays things are different. But these seasons still have an effect on us. September used to be a time that set a pit of sickness in my stomach - I dreaded the start of a new term at school due to bullies. It took almost ten years after leaving school for this feeling to subside every year, but it did. Now I am happy to say this is my favourite time of year. It's the time of year I now feel most alive, sharp and in tune with the energy the earth gives us. In Spring, I can feel the earth burgeoning with effort to come alive, which can be exhausting for someone with fibromyalgia. It's a fabulous time, but I always feel I can't keep up - and the air feels intoxicating. My grandmother always used to sniff the air and say 'It's strong today'.
Autumn's onset heralds a period of analysis for me. I think on what I've achieved in the months past, but in a personal sense. A spiritual sense. I look at where I have grown, and think about where I still need to grow. I feel the nights getting cooler and darker with an inner sense of quiet pleasure. Those nights will be here soon where it's more acceptable to cosy up with a book full of knowledge, or to sit and simply write to the soundtrack of a thrashing wind and spattering rain. The thought sends me into transports of delight.
It is after all, where the year winds down into a time of repose after action. A time to look inward and take stock. And while we do this, there are still a cornucopia of sights, smells and sounds to come to inspire and marvel at. There was one day last year, in early November, when I spent time with friends in Marazion to celebrate the birthday of a friend. It will always go down in my history as 'a perfect day'. I'd risen early on the Sunday, and while the rest of the house were sleeping, or socialising in the living room, I ventured out for a walk.
The narrow streets with pretty painted houses wound down to the small town. I saw a huge amount of bird activity among the rooftops, watching jackdaws create mischief around the chimneys. The air was so exceptionally clear, I kept revelling in it with every breath. Cold, but so clean and pure. As I rounded the corner into the main street, I glanced left and saw an alleyway between two buildings, leading to the sea and St. Michael's Mount. The wave of sea air hit me and rendered me powerless. If you could bottle that smell you could make a fortune. Every smell of each pebble, each strand of seaweed, each rusted piece of metal, was in that scent. I'll never forget it.
That brings me briefly to another day. I stayed with my mother in Lyme Regis for a week in October. The same awakening happened there too - although it was warmer. The late sun was still strong enough to heat the sea, so I swam nearly every day. But the air was sharp. These times remind us who we are without all the trappings of daily life, they make us think about what we want on a deeper level. They inspire us to seek a little further, to questions our existence. They prompt us into action.
Autumn is a key time. It was the time I found the craft for the first time, in a bookshop. I picked up a book and found the most beautiful things I thought may never be mine. Then, thirteen years later, I found it again in an email from people I'd contacted to begin a period of learning. Each time, Autumn was the accelerator. It's marked a huge time in my learning and achievements, and a massive shift in thinking and creativity. And for these gifts, I love this time and give thanks for it's abundance - whether it be blackberries and seasonal mists, or introspective revelations and the need to carry notebooks to record those sudden surges of creativity.
But - what does Autumn mean to you?