The days of bare legs and sunshine clothes are drawing to a close, as golden leaves and bonfire smoke are hot on their trail, carrying the promise of crunchiness underfoot and visible breath clouds on crisp mornings, in which I can pretend to be a dragon blowing puffs into the sky. I've held on to the dregs of 'beach season', when I only went to the beach once and that was in the rain, but now I'm ready to surrender to slippers, scarves and raking the garden, trying not to stumble into dew-decorated spiders' webs and hoping to goodness none of the spiders get inside my house. It's a vain hope of course; they always do.
Here is my bright yellow summer swan-song, shod in flimsy dampened suede, twirling away the rest of my summer dreams into autumn realities. In the twilight space between seasons the skies are capricious, and the garden teetering between lush and dank depending on the gifts they bestow. I don't venture onto the lawn barefoot anymore, and suspect that just as it's dry enough to be mown it will cease its growth spurt anyway, as if the onset of Autumn slows nature down. In reality it can seem the briefest season, easily blinked away between late summer warmth and early winter frosts - a season of hurried fire-coloured flurries, insistent winds that tug at reluctant branches, sudden sunsets and bright blue dawns.
While nature prepares to power down, shedding summer finery and drawing us into dreams of festivities now not so far off, I'm still getting into gear for the onward push. I've spent the summer planning and learning, growing, not an overnight shoot but a season-long slow burn that's pressed through the cracks in my experience. Leaving behind the summer is like leaving a training camp, hardened by testing and a little sore, but keen for the next assignment.
Autumn to me is like a Phoenix, blazing into flame knowing full well that a glorious rise from the ashes is just around the corner in Spring's swift bud. Autumn takes the year's cycle out in magnificent style, bold and effusive, unapologetically strong. Its winds may seem destructive, but Autumn understands that the cycle demands sacrifice: that nothing new can be created without the old making way for it. It works not on decimation but on renewal, as year on year old coats are shed and fresh life reaches higher, further than before. Autumn proudly shows its colours, fierce yet stately, and of a rare day quiet and still, inviting wonder. And, in its shining crown, Autumn brings the harvest.