I probably wouldn’t be living where I am right now if I was as hooked on Autumn as I think I am. I could choose to live up in the mountains, where chestnuts grow, mists swirl, and the season looks more …… familiar. But I don’t. I live on the coast, not the warmest part, but warm enough to remind me each day that these islands are nicknamed “The Islands of Eternal Spring.”
Autumn here is often marked by a return to greenery, rather than the loss of it in a fiery display of gold and orange. Some time in Autumn the rains come, and days afterwards, as the sun warms the earth again, even the most barren-looking tracts of land turn grassy. Within days, tiny, green shoots flourish like triffids, and the landscape is much ……..kinder than before.
The dust-filled winds from Africa, which punctuate our summers, abate, and scarlet and purple skies mark the beginning and ending of our days. We still wear our cotton dresses, our shorts and sandals, but not before 10 am, or after 4 pm.
Summer nights, which extend well into October, I simply flop onto my bed, hoping that the ceiling fan will keep me cool enough to sleep through the night. Some nights it doesn’t, and I sleep fitfully. Other nights it is too much, I wake to turn it off; only to wake again, too warm, and turn it back on. In Autumn, duvet or blankets back in place, I snuggle, pajamaed, into bed. It becomes a welcome place to hang out, as I invite sleep to come, comfy, and somewhere I want to be.
It’s a rare year that Autumn comes before Halloween, so that when the clocks are turned back, and the rhythm of our days shifts slightly, we are surprised to realize that the year has moved on. We see reports of rainfall in the north of the island, or even flurries of snow in the high mountains, but once our day has warmed up, here, on the coast, we go around mostly unaware of the season.
I write this because our long, hot summer seems about to end. For a couple of weeks now the skies have been clearer, sometimes cloudy but the oppressive haze of summer has lifted. Now the forecasts warn of rain, hard to imagine as I glance out of the window at an endless blue sky this morning.
The rain will cause chaos, but will be welcome. It’s been a long time coming, and everywhere is scorched from months of sun. There wasn’t much rain last year. Farmers are worried, but the danger is that topsoil will now wash away if the rain is too heavy. The roads will be treacherous, as water sits on the parched surface. But the greenery will come, and the dust will wash away, and come winter there will be a brighter world.