Outside it smells like bonfires.
It is cold enough for me to see my breath in the air. It is cold enough to feel the winter, waiting.
It feels like the fire is needed for the first time.
Sure, we lit fires in July, but they were smaller, more sentimental creatures. Little ways to hold on, to keep the party flowing. The fire had no meaning other than congregation.We lit them because we could, not because we needed too.
Tonight the fire felt like a practice run for the hundreds of nights that are to come.
For the winter.
And what of me? From here, I start to become wistful, to watch the evenings for the first signs of trouble. Soon will come the final bookmarks of the year, Pumpkins, Fireworks, Fairylights, Gifts.
I will start to nest, to put on weight, to worry about new coats, new boots, new ways of working. I will watch the Geese as they leave and wish to join them, the Swifts and Swallows left already, to avoid the rush.
I will write. I will tune down to Open C and seek blindly for inspiration.
One evening, not too far from here, I will feel the dread, the sudden realisation that Winter is here, and I will panic in the afternoon darkness. I will become morose and wish that I had done more, had gone swimming, had spent more time outside.
It happens every year.
There is no change in the Winter, the clocks will still work as they have always done, and Spring will roll around when it desires. In the meantime, I will seek the rutting Deer and the crashing tide, the final flourish of the falling leaf.
My favourite months, the inbetween seasons.
Very little will change, but I will feel, so desperately like it needs too. Outside it smells like bonfires and it has made me feel like I need to prepare, that there is something on the horizon.
Next year I will do the same. I will feel the same way.
This will be my Thirty-Third winter, and I’m learning how to cope.