Autumn treasure 9: Enthusiasm

5/12/2018 It’s strange. I’m enjoying autumn more than ever, and yet of all the seasons this year, I am struggling to choose subjects to write about. I have had many ideas, but few have lodged in my mind.

I’ve been trying to figure out why. Since I got back from holiday, my autumn has been characterised by activity. A good proportion of it is seasonal – tidying up in the garden and lighting bonfires, splitting firewood, making jam, apple picking with goats (a sometimes inconvenient but certainly entertaining version of the activity), rushing to stew and freeze all the apples before they rot… Even those parts that aren’t exactly seasonal have benefitted from the darker nights and colder days: indoor activities such as planning refurbishments and repairs, decorating, tidying and sorting, finding time to work through an enormous pile of B&B ironing which I can never bring myself to do when the sun is shining (most days since late spring this year), and cello practice. There has been sociable fun too: concerts, meeting new people, going for walks with my neighbour, and inviting people round for tea or supper.

I realise it is the whole picture that I am relishing at the moment, more than specific components of the season. I love feeling motivated to tidy and mend, sort and organise. I love physical outdoor labour. I am enjoying having more time to do these things than I did during the summer, and working through a long to-do list can be extremely satisfying, especially when long-overdue and half-finished tasks get completed. And even more so when you don’t experience the usual mental blocks about at least half of them, which is the main cause of their not having being tackled sooner.

When a friend or neighbour asks me what I’ve been up to (apart from the usual cello and B&B), I sense that the words coming out of my mouth paint a horrendously boring picture. But to me it feels exciting. It is a joy to feel motivated and enthusiastic.

Most of all, I think, I am appreciating the lack of reluctance I usually feel at the departure of summer and the approach of winter. I realise it is the first time in many years – perhaps ever – that I have managed to get from August to December without any sense of dread, lethargy, melancholy, low mood or any other negative emotions or states of mind that I often experience at this time of year, especially in the approach to Christmas. It seems odd to celebrate the absence of something, but it really feels like something to celebrate. A heavy weight is gone, and I am able to live in the moment.