It happens every now and again, that I will be shocked into realizing that the seasons are changing. It happened this year.
By the time summer is waning, I look forward to autumn with great excitement. I love to feel the onset of the winter chill and see the changing colours around me. But this year my vision was filled with boxes and packing paper and cleaning products, and it was only at the beginning of this week, when the cold really arrived, that I remembered it was autumn at all! And now it is nearly over, and I missed it.
I know that there are still technically a few weeks left of autumn, before winter proper arrives, so when the blanket of cloud spent itself yesterday in a fury of hail and torrential rain, I jumped on my bike and cycled to the town centre. I had a few errands to do (stock bones to get from the butchers, 50p for about 3lbs of bone; letters to post; fruit to buy) but my, did I enjoy the ride?!
The sky was a beautiful, pale blue, and the leaves along the road were a bright, clear yellow, with just the tips of the branches leafless. The sun was slanting between the houses and reflecting in the puddles on the road (puddles that I carefully avoided). As I returned home, the horizon was pink and misty, so I tramped out again with the camera. Most of the leaves of the hawthorns and roses are dark brown, shrivelled and soggy, but there were still ‘coral treasures’ of hips and haws, and the winter wheat is greening the fields. I felt that I had experienced a little fragment of autumn in the way that it should be experienced, and was satisfied.
On the subject of cycling, I have a sad footnote. There have been six cyclists killed on the streets of London in the last fortnight. This is tragic. Please, all cyclists, think of your safety. Wear helmets, don’t undertake lorries or buses, and be especially careful at junctions. Don’t risk your life trying to save a few extra seconds on your journey. And please, all drivers, be aware of cyclists. Don’t be angry because they’re slow and taking up ‘useful car space’. Don’t overtake a cyclist where you wouldn’t overtake a car. Never turn left without checking your blind spot. And get on your bike every now and again – it’s exhilarating and healthy, and it makes you see the world in a very different way.