Autumn used to be my favourite season. The cooler days and softer light were a welcome relief to the almost unbearable heat and humidity of the Iowan summer. The house where I spent most of my childhood was surrpunded in oak trees whos colourful leaves and acorns were much anticipated childhood treasures. Autumn meant apples and hay rides and football.
In recent years, autumn has lost its appeal. Rather than a welcome relief, it comes as the beginning of the end - rain and dark days lay ahead. Unlike others, I do not welcome the drawing in of the long nights. I do not have a fire to sit and knit by and rain and dark mean more time spent in close confines in a small house. Mud is tracked everywhere and the cold becomes the type that is unique to this climate...a wet that hits your bones first.
No day in the calendar year strikes such a dread in my heart as the last Sunday in October, the day that the UK sets its clocks back. Suddenly, we are plunged into darkness. Last night, it was pitch black at 5pm, and that is just the start. By midwinter, we will be lucky to get 3 or 4 hours of daylight, if its overcast, we may get less. In all of my life, I have never experienced anything like the long, long nights and pathetic excuses for day that occur at this latitude.
Each year, I feel myself dragged into this season by my feet with my fingernails digging and clutching at the reletively warmer and sunnier days of summer. I become an even grumpier version of myself, watching the clock for the earliest point at which I can go to bed, sneering at most anyone who dares cross my path after dark.
My cure usually comes with that first bright, cold day of Winter. With snow on the hills and clear blus skies, the grouchiness subsides and appreciation for Winter enters.
(which is then short lived as I begin to count the days to my favourite season, Spring...I'm just never happy, am I?)