Some days contentment is as simple as the gentle lullaby that is the sound of the autumn rain on my windowsill. Is there anything so melodic? The rain began on Monday and it will not cease. The shroud of a long and stagnant summer – one so sizzling it burst in, unanticipated, like a firework – has finally lifted and there is relief, and a certain beauty, in its ending.
There is beauty in the curling of the leaves and in the curling of a mouth, when translated into a smile on my grandfather’s lined and handsome face. There is pleasure in a return to old, in the pulling on of a forgotten sweater still scratchy at the wrists, and in the cupping of a warm mug of tea between fingers. And there is comfort in the slow rumble of the underground, as the windows steam with the heat of crowded bodies and the cool of the continuing downpour outside.
Often the last waltz of summer, and the ensuing fall, seems Mother Nature’s round of hide and seek – an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse, an ever-quickening see-saw between crisp days of sun and cooler, darker nights. This year, autumn has simply arrived. Sandals to socks weather in the space of a night. In a world full of uncertain uncertainties, there is some peculiar comfort in that.
Tights have already premiered, and fourteen stitches of a new, wine red scarf have been sewn. Yesterday our favourite neighbours and friends sat with us around their fireplace, the youngest daughter curled cat-like on the carpet beside crackling flames. Transport for London have switched off the air conditioning on the tubes, and today I might just pull on my boots for the walk to meet a dear friend.
The air is sweeter, and I’m breathing it in.