Yesterday was another day of reflection for me as I found my thoughts filled with moments that tell me that winter is coming. My early morning constitutional was beautiful and filled with hope as I and my furry companions enjoyed the simple pleasure of walking together, a gift which, back in May, I feared I might not be doing six months on.
It was one of those days when the air was crisp and light, my fingertips tingling with the chill as they do when reaching into an open fridge and in contrast, the sun, bright and intense, gently warming the skin on my face. These Autumn mornings make everything sharp, the colours vivid; bright blocks of intensity sparkle and dazzle, singing out their presence like jewels discarded by dragons in the undergrowth of front gardens.
I find gifts from unknown strangers among the fallen leaves, their reds, golds and yellows, crisp and light underfoot. A washing up bowl or empty plant pot left at a garden gate and filled with vibrant green Bramley apples, hugely plump and inviting so that I squirrel a couple away in my pockets, the scent of warm apple crumble on my mind as mentally I check that I have everything I need in my kitchen cupboards.
All day I hung onto those thoughts, feeling a lightness of spirit as I work on my computer, planning the moment when I will stop and pinny on, will slice into the firm, juicy flesh of those stout apples that smile at me from the colander, a reward for my diligence during the day. Ever since I moved here from London twelve years ago, I have never ceased to be both charmed and delighted by the generosity of strangers who share their garden treasures with passersby, wanting nothing in return. I have been the grateful recipient of sunflower seedlings, baby tomato plants, cucumbers, marrows, carrots, gourds, courgettes and apples of all kinds, each shared and given away willingly with no thought of remuneration or who it is that benefits from their goodwill. It is me, amongst others, and every time it happens, it makes my day, and reminds me of the kindness of strangers, the joyful spirit of community and the goodness in people.
As I sit outside in my own garden at dusk, wrapped in a blanket and enjoying the warm, earthy smell of woodsmoke on the air, I watch the fairy lights twinkling as darkness draws in. Spoon in hand, I cradle a bowl of hot yumminess and salute the kindness of my neighbours. The innate pleasure you have given me as I taste the sharp poignancy of those apple dancing with the sweetness of the brown sugar on my tongue. Once finished and savoured, I allow my two furry companions to lick out the bowl contented before popping out the hedgehog food and disappearing indoors to enjoy a spot of TV before bedtime. Locking the door behind me, I am replete and joyful, my thoughts serene, just a passing thought about what simple pleasures will dance into my life tomorrow as I herd my beasties into the sitting room and switch off the kitchen light.