Mists and mellow

Early September, the fruiting time, with plum juice and warmth and wasps in the air, when you know the summer is fading and the cold is coming. You can smell it in the air in the evening, in the morning now too. And think of times colder. Cold is different wherever you go. I remember the white cold of Norway that March I went there, rivers still hidden under feet of snow that lay on the ice., all the contours of the earth smooth and flowing. The other cold I found there too, when I went out without a hat and got caught in the rain, so cold it made me think  I might die.

And the cold of the West Country, those mornings when I was young and we had no heat in the house until the fire was lit, apart from the choking paraffin heater at the bottom of the stairs that sent fumes into my room while I was asleep; a sort throat from November to March. Ice ferns on the windows inside, astonishing skies orange and yellow and pale blue with no clouds, as if all of Wiltshire was flying through space, so high above the earth in my council house bedroom, the concrete tiled rooftops, the sodium streetlights. My crystal radio with its wire loop of aerial strung around the front door porch. I haven’t felt that cold since then, since I left the place where I came from.

A different kind of cold out here in the East. A sadder one as the year spins into its last part, towards the long night. And one where now the summer is over the people have gone back to their real lives, leaving this pretend holiday place still bathing in the cooling waters of the retirees mantra: ‘it’s always been like this,’ as if a place was ever built where six out of ten houses are lived in only now and then.

I dreamed a mouse was trapped in the bin where I keep the chicken’s corn. In my dream I tip the bin slowly so the little mouse can escape. Yellow and orange mist as I leave the house this morning. Figs from the tree I planted half a decade ago this sweet Autumn. There are much worse times than these.

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