2010 has been a sad year. My 'anus horribilus'.
It started badly. I split from my partner of 12 years. I need no sympathy, it was my idea, and whilst I have tried every ounce of willpower to imagine us back together, I can't do it.
My job's been a ballache. Three years ago, when I started it offered a truckload of prospect. It has now become a series of days in which meaningless paper is presented to me and moved from tray, to tray, to file. It feels desperate and unfulfilling.
Financing a newly single life has taken me to the point of economic despair. Buying new furniture and committing to clearing associated debt has been tough, and, at times, nauseatingly upsetting. There's a light at the end of that tunnel, but at the moment it's a match - tenuous and wavering, and always threatening to extinguish at any moment.
But I'm sick of being miserable. I'm not a naturally depressive person. I need to bolster my mood. I need to remind my self of the things I love, the things that make life worth living.
I used to hate autumn. Preceded by the acronymatic phanopoeia of Seasonal Adjustment Disorder. The sun at Lat 51.5283, Long -0.0164 decides to neglect the morning as Summer ends, barely reaching the height of the rooftops and lulling the body into a false sense of eternal night. Getting up is impossible. Promised early runs and gym visits never happen. Everything about the season tells me to stay in, prepare, hibernate. And yet the sun's light takes on a moody, glamourous glow. It filters through charcoal Rothko-esque cloud, and when it plucks up the energy to burn through, reveals crisp, startling blues. We don't see the sky in the height of summer’s heat. It's a milky, hazy, diluted blue, flooded by sun. Autumn blue is cold and sharp and enhances our surrounding world with such clarity.
Nature seems to desert us with surprisingly swift and careless abandon in autumn. Birds in massive flocks swoop and dive in rehearsal, preparing their quick escape to warmer climes. The trees shed their glorious summer greens and shut down for the winter. They have the right idea. As someone over forty it makes me think of death. It is a reminder of another year over, and the cycle gets quicker and quicker.
But a gaggle of geese, making their way South in a big crepuscular wave, honking in companiable unison, is a joy. It cheers me in the same way as seeing good friends off on some great adventure at the airport. They’ll be back sooner than we know it, and with great tales to tell. The birds that get left behind endeavour to fill us with cheer. The humble Robin (who we've forgotten since March) put's his red vest on, and punctuates our hedgerows like a miniature ring-master, bobbing and weaving, and saying “look at me, I’m here… now I’m here... Are you looking?”
And if the leaves on the trees went grey, rather than the sumptuous warming reds and oranges, we'd have cause for complaint. As it is, the beauty of this transition is accompanied by awe and wonder the world over. The carpet of fire that satisfyingly litters parks and pavements, hides the dirt, the dying decaying grass. Unfortunately it sometimes hides a rogue dog-poo, but the less said about that the better.
As the sun affords us little time, we light up the evenings. I love the adoption of a true Halloween from our American cousins. The hollowing of pumpkins to create ghoulishly fun lanterns is the best use for the frankly tasteless squash, and gets us creative. November brings the unnatural and inexplicable wonder of fireworks, from our own history, and from our mixed cultures in the form of Diwali, and there’s some TV sparkle in the form of Strictly Come Dancing, which dazzles us with its sequins like a gloriously daft carpet of fairy dust to Christmas.
So, much to be thankful for, and much to sit back and savour. I’m going to use this blog to tell you about the things I love. They may be small things, like a martini or cigarettes, or bigger adorations like architecture, cities, countries, people. Hopefully you’ll love them too. And if not, you’ll tell me why…
Next up, Marmite!