Saturday, 27 September 2014

Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf's a flower...

Autumn is here. The stealthiest of all the seasons. In she creeps on little cat-feet, trailing her bronzes and turning the leaf-tips to copper as she goes. One moment the skies are jewel blue and absolutely clear. The next they are the colour of unlit lightbulbs,  the smoky grey of shoeprints on paper.

We went wandering a couple of weekends ago on one of those last clear days, and ended up in the gardens of an old stately home. We bought ice creams from the little on-site cafe, took off our shoes and sat on the grass beneath the old Tudor mansion house. Couples threw sticks for woolly-looking dogs. Children toddled by the pond, squeezing fistfuls of bread meant for the ducks in their chubby little fists. Magpies rattled like gunfire in the trees. Midges fizzed. It was beautiful. Later, we went for a walk by the lake, and I took photos of the water, the sky, the trees.
In one (the photo I posted at the start of this entry), a single tree blazed orange; the others, all around, were still green. That first sign of Autumn, even as the sky glowed blue through the gaps in the leaves. Just two weeks ago, and now the green is gone, and we crunch through molten colours in the streets.

This morning, we went to the food and craft market near C's house, and drank coffee as we browsed the stalls. Breads studded with nuts and seeds, and peppered cheeses; fat, split sausages spitting on the grills. Homemade ciders and local beers. Steamer trunks with real iron bindings. and stencilled names fading prettily to obscurity on the sides.

There was a lovely chill in the air, and the stallholders were cheery in woolly hats and fingerless gloves, and I suddenly wanted more than anything to press the morning into my memory like a flower in a book, or a moth behind glass, wanted to preserve it to take out and handle in the Summer months, in the Spring, say yes, I remember, this is exactly how Autumn smells; of coldness, and coffee, of woodsmoke, and grilled meat, and clean, good air...

Monday, 22 September 2014

"One moment your life is a stone in you; the next, a star".


Remember when my heart was glass, and love songs were feet that stamped and smashed. All those months when my face was grey, and broke open without warning, a sky full of rain.

A friend told me then, Some day, someone else made of stars will be waiting in the wings. I held onto that like a rosary or a charm. Thumbed it in the dark. Pressed my wishes and my hopes into it, like fingerprints in bubblegum or plasticine. Wanted to believe, but couldn't, quite.

In June, I went on a date to flesh out the bones of my loneliness. Tired of spending Saturday nights with a bottle of wine and my thoughts. Tired of Sundays where the hours were endless and glutinous, melting and lengthening like Dali's gloopy clocks. My friends were busy, my own four walls were driving me crazy, and I just wanted out for a while. I wanted sunshine that wasn't filtered through glass. Good wine. Some conversation.

I wasn't looking for anything, not really. But I found everything.

People said, You'll find love when you're not looking, and, When you're ready, love will find you. I've said those things myself - many times, to many people - and I've always meant them. It's just harder to believe when it comes to your own tender self. Its hard to have faith, even the vaguest kind, when you still feel like you have bootprints on your heart.

This is the beautiful thing about life. It's a truth that you sometimes have to root for in the dark, but it's true like a root, like a stone, like a star. There will always, always, always be a turning. Just as Winter will crack open into Spring. Just as the night will lighten into morning. Nothing is permanent. Everything, but everything, will change.

I may be hurt again, in time. Maybe it won't work after all. Maybe he'll break my heart, or I his. But that's the risk, isn't it. The beautiful, terrible risk of it. That's the chance we take each time we put our feelings - our eggshell-fragile, mothwing-delicate feelings - into someone else's palm's. But rather that than be lonely and be flat. Rather take a blind leap and a tumble than never start.

I have been a bud. I was a bud for the whole first half of the year, hard, and closed and very, very green. But now I'm uncurling. I'm ready to be open again, I'm ready for loveliness and light. Let the ashes of what went before feed my roots. Maybe my colours will be all the better, all the brighter, for that.