In England we like winding country roads. But occasionally we get a straight one. Like here, almost a French feel to this.
A week ago I was driving along this road and suddenly had a thought. Always dangerous with me. So I parked up and stood by the side of the road. I wonder what the passing drivers thought I was up to. Given the brakes going on the cars, maybe they thought I was a speed camera operative. About 20 years ago I was a civilian manager in a Police Force. It was decided that the handheld speed cameras needed replacing. To cut a long story short the traffic police were asked to test 6 different cameras under similar conditions. Six police cars went to a known speeding zone. Can you imagine the panic on the unsuspecting drivers who screamed over the brow of the hill to be confronted immediately by 6 police officer stood next to each other, pointing 6 cameras at the speeding car. Ones bad enough BUT SIX.
Anyway enough of speeding cars having the worst 5 seconds of their week.
I’d stopped to look at the lane because I had suddenly realised that I had been up and down this road thousands of times over the years and I had never really stopped to look at the beautiful trees. So that’s what I did. But then another random thought struck me. All about which direction to head in. Not easy to choose here as there are so obvious signposts. So left or right – no idea. Bit like life somedays. No obvious direction. Then a smile. My first bit of philosophical thought in years. Why not just head off in the opposite direction to which way your bottom is currently pointing. Yes that works for me.
It’s autumn and the leaves are falling. Here when they fall they undertake a kind of heroic mass migration. They migrate to our front lawn. Has to be our lawn, never any of my neighbours. These fallen ones have just started their journey heading inevitably to just below our front window. Then they like to stay put. That’s so very kind of them.
I’ve been trying to be kind to myself as well. If I’m happy then I will be a better parent. Trying to find enjoyable things to do. Maybe discover some new hobbies. One of which is learning to play the piano. Finally making use of an electronic keyboard which has been basically just gathering dust. The piano tuition app I’m using is good. Quickly I can now start to read music. I can play a rustic version of Ode To Joy. But I couldn’t understand why the piano app kept talking about one key being middle C when with my careful marking out of the keys came up with a different answer. Then the penny dropped. Can you spot the deliberate mistake in the pink scrawls……
Unlikely to get too many trips out to enjoy the wonderful autumnal colours this year. But at least I will spend more time looking at very our own mini displays. Too often these are not fully appreciated.
It is often the little things in life that we miss. Don’t fully appreciate. Take them for granted.
Before 2016 at this time of year we would drive as a family through the tree lined country roads to the local arboretum. A walk round the thousands of autumnal trees ending with a hot chocolate at the cafe. It’s not until these moments are gone that you realise how golden those times were.
After 2016 I would drive son to very the same arboretum. Trying to control a mad dog while son kicked around in the fallen leaves. Ending in the cafe now so he and the dog can enjoy a bacon butty. I would saviour a freshly ground full on caffeine burst. Golden days not possible this year.
So maybe those annoying fallen leaves in the front garden will actually come in useful. Let’s go and have a thrash about in them. Followed by a home made butty and yes a hot chocolate. Yes different times, but still golden times.
It might be autumn. It might feel like autumn. But some bright colours are hanging on there, even if they are getting a bit isolated.
“Dad why have you got shorts on.”
Because I feel like having them on
“But Dad it’s freezing.”
It’s good for the constitution.
“Well it’s not good for my eyes. It’s so uncool.”
Hawklad you have no taste.
“Well Dad don’t come running to me when you get Frostbite. Time to cover your legs up.”
I have to admit it was a tad bracing on the legs. That cold that when I tried to have a hot bath to warm up, my legs immediately sucked all the heat out of the water. Sat in luke warm water after just few seconds is no fun.
I understand that Hawklads primary concern with shorts is not for my wellbeing. He doesn’t like wearing shorts. He doesn’t like the feel of fresh air on his legs. He doesn’t like the thought of people looking at his legs. He is not keen on others wearing them as well, certainly when they are near him. He has been this way from about the age of 5. He has not worn them in all that time. It’s even on his medical record and the doctors have wrote to school to tell them to make the necessary adjustments to their sports uniform policy.
I like to exercise in shorts but quite quickly after I have finished you will hear the following words echo across the house – ‘is it about time you cover your legs up…”. It’s another little element of our Aspergers house.
Definitely it’s a time of change. The season of change. Yesterday was T-shirt and shorts. Today is wet, windy and chilly. 50F probably means the T-shirt season has gone and it’s time for woolly jumpers. Ice Cream replaced with Hot Chocolate.
It’s that time of year.
Four years ago I would have been sat at home looking at the ‘Sincere Condolences’ cards on the mantelpiece. It was a couple of days after my partners funeral. Life was looking bleak. But as the years pass this time of year has increasingly felt like a time of personal change. The end of a period which marked the passing of my partner and mum. A time of sadness moving to thoughts of preparing for winter and all that entails. Thoughts of loss replaced by thoughts of short days and long nights. This year is complicated with our ongoing lockdown which is likely to stretch through the entire cold months. So yes this period of change feels different . Definite change but what? In previous years the next few months brought challenges but also things to look forward to. Concerts, Football Matches, Firework displays, Halloween parties, family meet-ups and meals, Christmas Markets, crisp winter walks and runs. This year these are all none starters. Could that tip the balance of the change. Only time will tell but the change is not yet set in stone. It can still be a positive period but it will need much work.
I love the Autumn colours. The hot chocolate. The coming prospect of winter sports on the telly. An excuse to snuggle into warm, thick jumpers (sweaters). The dark skies filled with stars.
Some things I don’t like so much.
The dark days. The sense of isolation. The sense of foreboding. The rain. The mind numbingly cold wind. The rain seeping through the back door.
AND the leaves. Thousands of fallen leaves. For some reason our garden is seemingly the final destination for all the trees in the area. Today I looked at the neighbouring gardens, at most a couple of lonely leaves – all missing their buddies. Well I can tell them where they are. In my garden….
So it has started. Going to get a lot worse, well in our garden anyway…..
Apparently we are enjoying the last few days of summer weather. It’s kinda sunny and kinda warm – if you ignore the cold wind. The forecasters are warning that soon the weather will be most definitely very different. Very cold, wet, grim and grey. As a result the farmers around here are desperately trying to get on with stuff. Even working when it’s dark.
It’s also time to start harvesting our own little garden crop. Today it’s a few apples, onions, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. Some have done better than others……
Can anyone speak carrot. What’s the carrot for ‘you do know this is Yorkshire and you are about to be given a right weather spanking. You don’t have months of sunny growing weather left, you have no more than 3 days. So get a move on….’
Why is it so simple to grow weeds yet those so called easy grow carrots prove so pesky. It’s as if the carrots pop out of the seeds, feel the Yorkshire soil and go ‘YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING’.
So if the carrots play ball then we are moving into a spell of living off stews, soups and apple crumble. I can happily live with that. I’m always thankful for whatever the garden yields. It does have to contend with the muppet gardener and Captain Chaos.
So yes it’s that time of year. The weather starts to break OR in our case, break even more. It starts to get colder and darker. For many it can be a tough change. Heralding a long period of what feels like ever increasing claustrophobic imprisonment. Me included. That’s where friendships, happy things and dreams are so important. They can help soften the sadness, even lift us into a better place. So for me it’s time to increasingly focus on those things. I can’t do anything about the weather but I can do influence the truly important stuff. Soon the autumn colours will become spectacular. The important stuff can lift the soul. Yes the following months can be bleak BUT they can also yield so much beauty and wonderful moments as well
Now it’s time to give those carrots a good talking to.
Another sign. Another sign that autumn is fast approaching.
Signs are always useful. Like signs from school. Signs telling us what on Earth are we supposed to be doing.
School did say that the individual subject teachers would be hopefully in touch to let Hawklad know what he is supposed to be doing while he is doing the enforced ‘school at home’ project. Teachers are really busy. We are not expecting one to one help or lots of telephone calls. But I was hoping for maybe just one email for each subject just summarising the work requirement for the lesson or the week. Maybe another email to check if he is doing ok.
So far only one teacher has emailed once setting out what is expected of Hawklad for that subject. Luckily one of the new Teaching Assistants is really trying to help as well. She is attempting to contact the teachers and remind them about Hawklad. She has sometimes obtained some more information that she has passed onto us. But she is struggling as well. Plus she has her existing class responsibilities which she can’t just drop.
So in a nutshell we are really none the wiser about what is going on in most of the classes. We don’t even know what topics are being looked at. So the school day consists maybe of one 90 minute block when Hawklad can do a reasonably full lesson. The rest of the day is filled with looking at blank screens and empty school email boxes. All we can do is wait and randomly pick some educational videos to watch. It’s all so very frustrating.
So definite signs of Autumn arriving, signs of meaningful school help would be most welcome.
Autumn is definitely here. The flowers have gone. Many of the trees are bare. The leaves that remain have increasingly turned vivid red. My partner loved this time. She would find any excuse to spend time outside. Just looking at the colours. Today looking at the reds in the garden I have purpose. These eyes are looking for her as well. I try to spend an extra minute. Spending as much time as she would.
Before the world changed my partner would be fixated on the colours but I would have other things on my mind. Cobwebs. I love Autumn for the intricate and beautiful cobwebs which begin to take over our world. The young spiders have had all summer to grow. It’s also a time when spiders are out looking for mates. AND the weather and the dampness are perfect for adding to the cobwebs drama.
The weather is perfect but for some reason the cobwebs are largely missing. Still no abundant arachnid display. Maybe next week. Then we can be both happy. But at least this weekend we did get one cobweb. Hopefully it’s the start of Autumn becoming complete.
Autumn is upon us. Everywhere you look the signs are clear.
The hedgerows are brimming with fruit. Intricate cobwebs everywhere.
Most of the swallows have now departed starting their six week trek to Africa.
Yellows, browns and reds are starting to dominate the foliage. Trees letting go as sad leaves fall to the ground. Soon the fruit in the hedgerows will be gone.
It was the time of year my partner loved the best. She loved the colours and the reflective atmosphere. A time she could walk quietly and just think. Now I walk the same paths. Today I was struck by one thought. My partner would have been looking at these same autumnal sights. Countless generations will have been looking at these sights. As much as you think the world has stopped because of your personal tragedy it never does. Life continues. The never ending cycle of life. The empty branches show the fleeting nature of life. Leaves fall but they will be reborn again. So should you – in your own time. When the time is right – it’s time to live again. It’s time to find a new way of blooming.
For me I’m still in the existing stage. I don’t tend to have personal dreams anymore. For years we had shared dreams. When my partner left us those dreams died. Now my dreams are my sons dreams. I exist because of my son. I live life through my son.
At some stage I will transition into the next stage. When I start to live for me. When I start to dream again. It’s strange how Autumn which is a time of life coming to the end of its cycle has sparked these thoughts. But maybe a better way to look at Autumn is that it’s a time of letting go before you start again. Rebirth. Yes that works better for me. It’s a time just before you live again.