So its nearly October already, with the usual talk of summer having gone too fast, nights drawing in, and “how many days till Christmas?” I saw crackers in a supermarket this weekend. Sigh.
But the end of September this year is another milestone- the end of the bat survey season! The big cheeses in the environmental world have to assign an arbitrary end point to the warmer summer months and the start of cooler weather and lower bat activity, and that end point is today. So with the beginning of October, the bats are out less and less, and, thankfully, so are we ecologists. As much as the bat watching is interesting, I won’t be sorry to not have to set my alarm for 3.30am any more!!
The other thing that this next month will bring will be the start of my local preaching in my new home town. At the beginning of September I went to my first preachers meeting here, and apart from lowering the average age by a good 20 or 30 years, it still felt good to be involved, and getting back into the things I used to do before I moved made me feel like I’m still me, even if I am somewhere else! So I now have 3 dates between now and Christmas, and even some ideas for them! Having spent a good while trying to get this sorted, it all seemed to fall into place in no time at all. The whole thing still makes me more than a little nervous, but also quite excited at the thought of being able to get stuck in again, which I’m taking to be a good combination.
Today is one of those perfect days, weather-wise, for this time of year. A kind of summer-autumn hybrid where the weather doesn’t quite seem to have made up its mind. And yet today its still unmistakeably Autumn.
I walked out of the door this morning, and, for the first time this year, I could see my breath on the air. The car windows were still wet in the weak morning sun. As I drove to work, leaving the edge of the town centre for the fields and farmland the sun was trying its best to shine through the haze, but not quite managing it. Where the road drops into the river valley the mist came up around me, clinging determinedly to the ground, and then as I rose again was left behind, revealing an almost frosty landscape shimmering in the morning sun.
Its warmer now, the sun has gathered its strength, and won the battle with the early morning clouds. But there’s still that slight edge to the warmth, the chill which cooled my breath this morning, and will freeze the dew drops tonight. That crispness that catches my breath, that waves goodbye to summer, and brings with it the promise of winter!
This kind of weather dares you not to feel down, challenges you to look on the positive side. Worries unfortunately do not disappear as easily as the morning mist, but you can still enjoy the sun meanwhile. Pleasure in the simple things.
And with that, since its lunchtime, I’m going outside with my book to enjoy the sun.
I like winter. Its pretty much my favourite time of year. I like the cold crisp mornings when you can see your breath. I like the clear blue skies, the dark nights, the snuggling up in warm jumpers and hats and scarves, the cold which makes your nose and cheeks red.
I also like the promise it holds. Yes, you may think I’m mad. Everything is cold and dark, the ground frozen, the trees bare. It barely gets light before its dark again, and in between often its cold and damp and miserable. But its in this very darkness and hopelessness that the promise lies. Its a moment when anything can happen, and you don’t quite know what it will be. When all sorts of things will come out of this emptyness, this darkness, and you just have to wait and see.
This year I’m trying to do that. To be patient. To know, and be convinced, that that frozen earth with yeild something fruitful. It is possible. The last year or two have shown me what can happen when you don’t expect it. I wonder what I’m not expecting this year..
Inspired by a recent post at lightbox.