Like all good things, the Summer of 2011 seems to be flashing by at an alarming rate. Already the shops are encouraging the back to school rush and everyone’s coming round to sinking back into their regular routines after the hype of the holidays becomes a happy, if distant memory. Summer can never last forever, much as we might want it to, but the earth keeps on turning and the heat of the summer blends into the cooler temperature of Autumn, with its leaves of red and gold and the feeling of standing on a precipice where the harshness, but also, the beauty of Winter lies beneath. Too often I think people wish Autumn away – longing for the festivities of Christmas, which, like Summer, are always over much too quickly – with only the dim lights of Easter acting as a form of a marker. It seems to be these times of bank holidays when the country gets a much-needed, if rather brief, breather from the pressures of work that people set their clocks by, or, I suppose, their Blackberry calendars.
It has become a part of our culture to always be in preparation for and looking forward to some big event – Christmas, Easter, the Summer holidays, a family wedding. We seem to crave these kind of events so that they may act as a marker in our year. Imagine if, at the end of every year, you sent out a newsletter to all of your friends and family you didn’t see very often to give them a round-up of your year. What would you mention? Special events of course. The activities that immediately jump out at you when you try to sum up your year. But why do we do it? Probably because it is the special events that we planned for and looked forward to that we can remember the most. Not the first day we could see our own breath in the air or when, walking along, our boots crunched over fallen leaves of red and gold. This year I want to enjoy Autumn – embrace it, lose myself in it.
With regards to getting dressed in the morning Autumn is most definitely my favourite season. Comfortable, practical Winter woollies in bright colours save us from the awkwardness of dressing in flimsy dresses and sandals in August even though it’s cold, wet and certainly not sunny. Out come the leather boots, the cosy cardigans, the cable knit tights and the hats, gloves and scarves. Unlike the rest of the year, the weather we are expecting usually falls into place between September and November. Cold, rain, wind. If the sun does happen to mistake his calendar and make an appearance it’s a pleasant surprise. Although the Autumn months in Britain are beautiful, I have always been mesmerised by shots of ‘Fall’ in New England in the United States. The colour of the trees and the leaves appear so timelessly beautiful and making a road trip through the states of New England in the autumn months is definitely on my ‘to do’ list for the future. Living with the UK weather may have its disadvantages (i.e. little or no sun in the summer months) but I wouldn’t swap it to live summer where there is no discernible change in the seasons. The weather and temperature they bring is what we set our clocks by and it gives something to talk about here in old England.
This summer for instance, I’ve seen some brilliant sunsets that have taken my breath away. On a three-hour train journey on Wednesday evening the train reached the crest of a moderately steep slope, and, as we emerged from the trees which screened us and the track from the rest of the world, the golden sunset blazed before me. Sitting alone in an empty carriage with my headphones on and my iPod in I felt utterly relaxed – like I was giving Summer a proper send-off, on my own, sometime between eight and half-past on that Wednesday evening. It is the little things – like the sunset – that prove to me that it is the simple pleasures in life that are the very best. The old adage “the best things in life are free” really does ring true.
Transition can relate any number of things – changing from one state to another, be it house, school, job, city or just moving on in life. I have always viewed September as a fresh start – here’s to the new beginnings. The image at the top of the page is a poster to mark President Obama’s presidential election campaign and I have it blue-tacked up onto the wall of my room. Why? Because it’s inspirational. Because we need change.