Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn Blues and Reds

I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints lately about the fact that summer is over and autumn is here. They range from “The days are getting shorter and it’s so dark and gloomy” to “Where’s the sun and why is it always raining?” and of course the inevitable “Ohmigod, there’s only 79 days left till Christmas!” But hang on a minute here – can’t we just enjoy autumn before we start to get depressed about it? (And yes, there are 79 days left till Christmas, but that’s ages – trust me!)

I love autumn! It’s actually my favourite time of year and I sometimes suspect I suffer from some weird kind of reversed Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). When everyone else starts to feel gloomy, I perk up (not, I hasten to add, because they’re gloomy – I’m not that mean!). I hate summer heat, so the lovely cold, crisp air this time of year invigorates me. I like nothing better than to huddle into a jacket and go for a walk without getting hot and sticky the way you do in summer time. And the park is almost empty so I get the paths to myself.

The acer tree in our garden will be coming into full burgundy-red glory any day now and the neighbour’s Virginia creeper is an even more vivid crimson. It just makes you marvel that nature can produce such spectacular sights! It is perhaps a little bit sad when all the leaves fall off the trees in the park, but they’re so beautiful first and then the stark branches against the autumn sky have a different kind of beauty all their own that really appeals to me. Then there are the conkers, another autumn bonus – I’m childishly fond of picking up a newly fallen one and holding it in my hand, feeling its smooth, shiny surface.

It’s getting darker much earlier, but so what? That just means you can light some candles (or a nice fire if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace), cook a warming stew and open a bottle of wine a bit earlier than usual. What’s not to like?

It rains a lot too, sure, but is there anything nicer than curling up under your duvet at night, listening to the rain pattering on your window? It makes me feel ten times more snug than usual and the whisper of the raindrops puts me to sleep.

Best of all, the upheaval of summer - with holidays, outings and people visiting - is over. The kids are back in school, I can get down to some serious writing. I find I do my best writing in autumn because often I’ve had to put it on hold for so long and I’m rearing to go. The ideas are fed up of forming an orderly queue in my mind – they want out!

How about you? When is your best time of year for writing and why? And what’s your favourite season? I’d love to know.

Please come back on Sunday when Liz will be posting.


  1. Both autumn and spring for me - because in summer I can't write because the kids need me and Christmas seems to seep through the winter...

    I also think the back to school feeling ingrained in me helps me focus...


  2. Yes, I love autumn too and like you and Liz feel inspired by that new term/fresh start feeling. You paint a wonderful picture, Pia, of long evenings in front of a glowing fire and cosy nights under the duvet. Ahh, *big contented sigh*!

  3. Glad you both agree! And yes, spring can be good too, especially the time just after New Year - I always make resolutions to work really hard that last a few weeks at least :)

  4. There are things I love about autumn - the crisp, sunny days, kicking up dry leaves, their smell, watching the salmon run in the local creeks, blustery wind. But I'm a fair weather person, not attuned to the cold and the wet. Gone are the long summer evenings, sitting outside watching the stars appear. Autumn presages winter, so that is always in the back of my mind.

    I love spring for its promise, bluebells, columbine, and hawthorne in bloom. And I love the warmth of the summer sun, fresh strawberries and raspberries and beans ripening in my garden, eaten still warm with the sun's kiss upon them. The fresh cold of the river on a hot summer day. The cooling shade of the big leaf maples.

  5. I Love spring, its a huge relief after a horrible winter to see the flowers start to bloom again and see there are other colours besides white on earth.
    Hi aspiring writer here, i stopped by from the nut press, I think I'll stick around some more.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to the defence of Autumn, my favourite of all the seasons! Wonderful post, Christina, it was beautifully written.

    I love that the weather can be a mix of Indian summer or chill days that force you to snuggle up in layers for a walk; I love scuffing my way through leaves on that walk; I love the colours of those Autumn leaves, those rich, warm reds, coppers, rusts and golds; I love that the evenings get dark earlier, so you don't have to wait until late before lighting a candle or a cosy fire; I love snuggling up with a snoring pussy cat and reading a book by that fire (but not the candle because I get told off for ruining my eyesight).

    Autumn is my New Year, it always has been. It's when new evening classes begin and when the diet and exercise begins (again!) and when I believe whatever I decide to do, I can realise in the coming year. Autumn is my time of year!

  7. I love autumn, too! But what really inspires me is the CHANGE of seasons - any season. That sense of the whole world holding it's breath for the first leaf unfurling, or the first leaf to drop.

    There's a sense of change, of pace, that never fails to make me very slightly excited....