Friday, 16 October 2015
It's that time of year again, that time when you can smell droplets in the air, when the bulbs have been planted, and the soil fixes on the lines in skin, in the the heart line, and the life line, and underneath nails, dry and chipped. I feel viral. I feel tired. But I have seen a russet moon, the colour of a dog's tongue.
Summer is being covered in yellow leaves and toadstools over the lawn. Is it a toadstool or a mushroom or a fungus? I never know the difference, and the spores make my breath rasp, my chest yearn for inhaler. But it has disappeared, the heat, the longer days, and with that I'm fattening up on crumpets and cake, sausages and mash. Most things baked and fried.
I love all the colour, it's just all these damn colds.
And she, she is six weeks into year one. The stories. How so and so chased so and so. The ongoing battle of girls against boys. Who is marrying who. The grazed knees and the cut fingers. It's hard to keep up. She is happy, she has friends, and I am happy too. She is reading, she is eager to spell. When I write a letter to a friend, she must also write one too. Mummy, how do you spell birthday? Mummy, how do you spell friend? And now she has discovered a love of numbers, loves writing number sentences she says. 4+2 = 6. 15+3 = 18. I think she has her father's precise mind, he's an engineer, a lover of logic and solution. Where as I, well I'm not sure, my brain is.... I was branded unclassified in maths.
Her new thing is sewing. I draw the picture on the material, a shape, a butterfly, and she carefully eases the needle with the red thread through. Her stitches to begin with are a little erratic, set wide apart, and then she finds her flow following the pencil, finding the coordination in her hands. She prefers it to the IPad. She prefers it to Pinky Pie and Princess Twilight Sparkle.
Any clues to Summer have now faded from my face. The colour. The freckles. All gone. I look a little wan, a little waxy under the eyes. And I try pulling back the warmer days but even their memories are as pale as my skin. A holiday home - an old vicarage. An ancient town built on a hill. The harbour. The cobbled streets. The tea rooms. The back garden disappearing under lavender, under holly hocks, under fallen apples. The wonky floors and the old beams. A princess castle with a moat. A grand old house with old, old wall paper and the smell of dusty, unread books - the smell of history. Days on a beach over-turning shells, adding height to sandcastles, running from an incoming tide. A weekend spent with Granny, and an aunt in her new pub. And a few days in a forest lodge with dappled sunlight and roaming deer. The discovery that peacocks can fly and the gift of a fallen feather. A morning spent purifying in the steam of a Japanese salt bath and the eucalyptus of a Turkish Hamman... It all seems a whisper away now.
And half term is around the corner. She has a new coat and new wellies. The zip on my coat is broken. And the winds are coming and so is the rain. One last mow of the lawn. One last pruning back of the shrubs and the clemetis overgrown.
I have my light box switched on: I am galvanising myself for shorter days...