Just a little piece of fiction, a short reflection on this wonderful time of the year
and how it feels to be slipping into autumn here in Normandy.
Although her spirits were lifted by the first signs of the spring, and although she was quick to abandon herself to the warmth of the summer, the truth was that she loved the autumn most of all. And of all the autumn months, it was October she preferred. For it marked the start of her comfort season.
It was also the month of her birthday; as a child a month to anticipate, with tingly toes and starry-eyed hopes of special gifts. Today her birthday gifts were fewer and smaller, but her pleasure only heightened.
After the heady summer days, so full of entertaining, and dressing up, and eating and drinking well, she discovered, with the passing years, that October came as a welcome relief.
These days her summer wardrobe required more effort, the lightweight skirts and shirts of summer were less easy to wear. Gone were the days of perfect long brown legs, and easy-going hair tied back in a pony tail and left to hang down a bare back. Dressing required more planning in the summer, but somehow became easier again once October showed its face.
High heeled sandals were put away, and flat comfortable boots retrieved from the back of wardrobes. Strappy dresses gave way to long sleeved soft tops, and gentle jumpers.
In October she could pull on her favourite jeans or slim line trousers, slip on a cashmere jumper and a sleeveless jacket, a pair of flat shoes and she looked great.
“From now on I shall only go out during the month of October” she had joked to a friend, while secretly surprised at how good that sounded.
Entertaining at home felt easy.
Spontaneous invitations given and received, no pressure to produce startling displays of complicated food. Autumn eating was about quiet conversation in front of an open fire. Friends seemed happy with home made soups, fruit tarts and stews that perfumed the house while bubbling all afternoon on the stove.
There was no urgency in the air. Christmas was far enough away to think about later. The children had gone back to school and even the start-of-school-year frenzy had died back and made way for a steady peaceful routine, that augured well for the serenity of the year ahead.
And in her garden, there reigned a deliciously dishevelled display of dahlias, asters, zinnias and sedums. Happy to give their best without requiring extra water, or even any pruning.
All of that could wait for November. So when she wanted to be outside, she could wander into the forest, happy to enjoy the pumpkin orange colours and quiet in the knowledge that this month of October – above all others – was a time to relax, to be kind to herself