The temperature has plummeted. Days are drawing in as the long darkness descends on us again. Winter may be a month away according to the calendar but my frozen hands after cycling home tell me that we are on the threshold of the long nordic chill.

I think of Australia, where Spring has come and the world is bursting to life. Here it feels like the world is going to sleep, ready for the hibernation that comes every year.

And yet autumn has been lovely. The changing colours are as glorious as ever, though the leaves are now fast disappearing. We have had wonderful bright days. Last Sunday we drove out in the country under a wide blue sky streaked with jetstreams of airliners far up in the stratosphere. The fields were bare, many with the stubble already ploughed into the now deeply furrowed soil ready for the freeze to come.

There is so much to prepare in winter. Gardens become bare as everything is packed away and the leaves disappear. Life moves indoors. People disappear from the streets, craving the warmth of their homes. We go out for work and exercise and then creep back into our cosy dens. It is the time for warm drinks by the fireside, for chatting with friends by candlelight, for sleeping.

Yet the business of life does not slow down to match the season. We rush all the time, to school and work and home again. The phone rings, the chores of life need attending to, so much to do, so little time, and often the fireplace sits cold in the evenings as we rush wildly around getting things done. “Matters of consequence.”

Oh for more time to sit and stare into the flames with a glass of wine on a cold night. Maybe this weekend.


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