I love-love-love this time of year.
It has been my favourite season since childhood. The fresh, crisp air, the damp grass, the light wind and the sound of the leaves dancing. The darkening nights combined with mild temperatures (in comparison to Winter).
When I was a child I loved listening to the early Autumn wind while writing my name on my fresh books and copies- excited to go back to school. Not out of love for school, I think, more out of love for routine. I’d smell the new pages as I’d flip them front to back with my thumb.
I’d reach home with the heavy school bag on my back and Mam would have a bowl of soup on the table ready for us. I remember dipping my bread in and the Flora margarine melting into the soup bowl. No real butter in our house growing up. My cold feet warmed by the time I’d reach the end.
In my late teens I remember walking my dog in the evenings with Damien Rice or The Frames pumping through my earphones. The air crisp and the moonlight brightening the community as early as 7/8pm. Those nights were my favourite.
Shedding like the trees, I spent my time mourning something.
Mourning myself as I grew into adulthood, I guess.
Leaving behind the freedom attached to being a child and entering into the complex world of adult relations.
Not long after I would meet my husband (at 22) and spend the next few Autumns curled up on a couch watching sci-fi and drinking tea. Or, being the celtic tiger years, we’d waste away an hour and a couple of hundred Euro in HMV. Or go to the cinema.
I remember cycling home from the city after work, hating the wind with it’s howling in my face and spitting at me with sharp cold cuts of rain.
So, I didn’t see Autumn from a child’s eyes for a few years.
These were the years I experienced heightened depression, anxiety and weight gain. I was disconnected.
Then I had The Elf.
The first Autumn after I had her is a haze but I do recall walking to the village each day with the leaves bustling around my feet.
It was the second one after her birth that I rekindled my old love of Autumn.
I watched the leaves change while running up the canal in West Dublin. Luckily, the wind was mostly behind me in those days. The Elf had turned one that June and was walking. Not a day went by, rain or shine, where she hadn’t taken my hand and led me outside.
We would play out on the cul-de-sac with our pup. Our pup had a pup-friend who was five times the size of her. They would chase each other and the leaves in between. The Elf and this magnificently gentle Bull Mastiff struck up a wonderful friendship.
Closer to Winter, last year, we moved to where we are now. We have a big green behind our house with giant, hundreds-of-years-old trees which I can see from my kitchen window.
I open my window and listen to the leaves dancing in the wind. I get that feeling again.
The feeling I used to get when I was a kid.
It’s like my heart is opening and the wind blows through it and cleans it out.
The sound of the leaves on the street is the sound of any heart-carried worry and cynicism flipping away.
Autumn makes me feel like a clean slate.
It blows away everything I don’t need and makes room for Winter silence and Spring regrowth.
How lovely to feel it again.
I hope you let Autumn in too after reading this. Go out for a walk and listen, smell, see. Allow Autumn to gift you with a clean slate. Or even, at the very least, dust off those cobwebs.