September is the real New Year
Did you feel it? Perhaps a week ago, for the first time in months – a crispness in the air, indicating autumn is on its way.
Finally, I’ve been anticipating it for ages. Don’t get me wrong, I adored the heady heat of August – I’m as partial to seaside swims and sandy sandwiches as the next person. But there’s something innately hopeful about September. Spring may be the season of hopping lambs and blooming buds but, for me, after the hen-dos, holidays and hedonism of high summer, autumn seems like a wonderful time for renewal.
Perhaps this is paradoxical given nature is in fact shutting down for the year – but with the change in temperature, comes a change in temperament. One crisp morning has the clarifying effect of an ice bath – and I’m suddenly prepared to tackle to the projects I’d been putting off for months.
Summer isn’t the season for studiousness – it’s all sun and sand and sea – and good god it’s great. But now I’m tanned and I’m tired and I’m ready for change. It’s a symptom of living in a perpetually precipitous nation – feeling we must soak up the sunshine whenever it strikes – because we never know when it might be back.
So, the recent heatwave, while phenomenal, did put something of a dampener on any plans to be productive. “I must make the most of it:” words I said daily for the duration of July and August: “If I don’t sit in the sunshine now, I won’t get another chance until next year.” But on and on the summer went, glorious sunshine after glorious sunshine.
Unremitting loveliness which made productivity non-existent. But I’ve eaten one too many magnums and now feel the overwhelming need for soup, a new pencil case and a fresh notepad: a clean slate.
Oh, the joyful symbolism of a new notepad: a new school term: a chance to reinvent yourself, or at the very least, your handwriting. I think we got New Year wrong. January is a terrible time to suddenly uphaul your entire life – when you have half a fridgeful of left overs and 10 hours of The Crown to get through. It should be now, after the buzz of beach life – when we’re all brimming with ideas stored up over summer and still have residual tans from our week in the sun.
The ensuing months will be darker and colder, but September is all ephemeral light and rust coloured leaves and jacket potatoes and Bake Off being back on the telly. It’s still warm enough for skirts but a woolly jumper wouldn’t be completely out of the question and the hedgerows are jewelled with ripe fruit, so crumble is always on the cards. Crucially, it’s time to go back to school. And as the kids reluctantly return to the classroom, now is the time for us to get back to work too.
It’s time to start tapping away at those goals we set nine months ago, without Christmas specials to distract us. It’s time to opt for fresh vegetables and hearty stews, instead of bread rolls and barbeque food. It’s time to start afresh.
So, while friends lament the declining hours of sunshine, I welcome cloudy days and drawn-out nights with open arms. To me, the cold and dark are comforting. Perhaps now I’ll finally get something done.