Looking for a punk record? Look away. Looking for Vivaldi? Look away. My mind has been occupied by neither of these things, but instead has been besotted with the change of seasons.
I am in the category of people who greet the change of seasons with impending doom. I seem to have the body composition of a lizard who needs to live on a warm rock, and with September begins the irresistible threat of my extremities freezing off like some kind of Narnian curse.
So too, goes my mood. The lovely bright mornings are over. The promise of months of barbecues (okay, I think we counted two this year) is gone. The dog can no longer come to the pub as it’s too cold to stand outside. Trivial points perhaps, but ones that make my heart soar from about May onwards, when the relentless hell of work and the news seems to be boxed away with a bright blue ribbon. It’s easier to get up at 5.30am when you don’t have to put on two pairs of socks before leaving bed, and it feels like nature has got up before you, so you aren’t alone.
But every time I share this fear, I’m met by choruses of ‘oh but Autumn is the BEST’, ‘don’t you just love THE LEAVES?’. So this year I have tried to fight the demons, and more specifically to not allow my brain to catastrophise everything that September onwards entails.
My two chief weapons in this battle have been the extremes of the spectrum. The first has been to keep as insanely busy as possible. To have no time to stand still, to feel the cold, to think about the impending horror of Black Friday and becoming surgically attached to an umbrella. In the last two months I’ve probably had less than a week at home, and when I have been there, I’ve made sure there is plenty of company, and plenty of chores to keep me busy.
The second chief weapon has been to embrace hibernation. To find an extra hour on a Sunday morning to have a cup of tea in bed. To nestle at the bottom of the pub basement wrapped in woollens and good company. To eat anything that isn’t nailed down.
Slowly, I’ve begun not to hate autumn. It matches my dog. It can be nearly as starkly beautiful as spring and summer. Friends who live abroad always tell me they miss the variety of UK seasons, so perhaps I should be more grateful.
I’ve read a lot in the last few months about ‘gratitude’ and the power it has over your wellbeing. So if nothing else, I shall learn to be grateful to autumn, for how much it will make me appreciate spring when it arrives.