Autumn. A season many people don’t particularly look forward to as it signifies the end of summer leading up to cold nights and fading sun tans. To me it signifies something special. A beautiful palette of colour and the crispy curl of fallen leaves crunching underfoot delighting me now as it did as a child. Autumn is nature shedding her old ready to rest up and revitalize in spring.
Autumn walks. Wearing Timberland boots, chunky socks and skinny jeans teamed with a favourite jumper and my rust coloured Barbour jacket. Topped off with a bobble hat that reads ‘HAPPY’ across the front in rainbow lettering. Minimal makeup and a smile as I hold my husband’s hand. We’ll be enjoying another walk in the historic Nunhead cemetery but alas! It and many others are closed due to covid. Why lonesome cemeteries are closed yet open spaces are open sure confuses me. So with our flask the size of a nuclear missile, we make do with a local stroll.
The air smells fresh with a hint of sweet decay and the excitable birds have calmed down. Lumbering docile wood pigeons mull about and tame robins flash their red breasts at us. Squirrels nuzzle the ground for titbits to hoard in places usually forgotten about unaware they’re burying inner city rodenticide. Everything around us appears to be curling up, dying. I crinkled my nose up at the thought. Autumn is not death but sleep. Nature is making her bed, ready to dream through winter and stretch awake in spring. Why, nature deserves a rest once a year.
We continue our autumn walk together. The crisp leaves shattering underfoot from trees not embarrassed to stand there nude. I wish I felt like that on holidays abroad but beach etiquette is another story. The bench halfway along Brenchley Gardens has been deemed “our bench” and thankfully it’s vacant. We sit overlooking a Victorian reservoir with a golf course on top of it. Genius use of urban space. The view of the city of London is incredible. From St Paul’s Cathedral all the way along to the Houses of Parliament. Like an enormous landscape postcard. We never tire of the view as we drink our coffee. We wear his and hers Timberland boots and put our feet side by side in amusement at the size difference. The bench’s damp wood soon becomes too much so we head off on our autumn wander towards the rose garden.
Brenchley Gardens once boasted the first railway line connecting London with the south coast and the remains of the track forms the walkway used today. The rose garden was made circa 1920s from the remaining stonework of the station that once stood there. A beautiful place to sit in whatever the season. I always reflect on how my grandmother and I tried to make rose water out of the petals but never quite got it right. Still, it was good fun as was many a moment being creative as a child.
After our step into autumnal beauty we arrive home with muddy boots. Only in that precise moment do I start cursing the house down with wild obscenities because there’s mud on the woollen carpet and it’s a pain to clean. Soon, calm comes over me as I realise you simply let it dry and brush it off. Oh the hazards of walks in increasingly damp terrain! Boots are kicked off with contradictory care, coats hung up like executed criminals (there!! I knew I’d talk about death at some point!) and the kettle flicked on.
The days from now until winter seem to be a different colour each time I awaken. Orange, rust, red, brown and even surprising peeps of purple. Autumn has arrived. And I love it.
© Copyright: Sharon Lawson™