"When I write stories I am like someone who is in her own country, walking along streets that she has known since she was a child, between walls and trees that are hers." --Natalia Ginsburg

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Once Upon an Autumn Night

“Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot

Once Upon an Autumn Night

I am now working as a live-in nanny and after work tonight I contemplated going for a drive--to gather my sanity. I wondered what the point would be as it was almost dark and I wouldn't be able to see much...but I needed a bit of time to myself.

The air had a definite snap to it so I had the heat on low at my feet---but the windows all the way down. Fresh damp earth and fallen leaves mingled together in the gathering darkness to create a pungent bouquet. I could smell the sweetness of fallen fruit in the air—apples and perhaps the tang of forgotten berries that the wildlife will feast on in weeks to come. There was a warm top note of wood smoke that teased my nose as it wisped invitingly from the chimneys of country homes lit up with soft yellow light.

I drove through the back roads with Jimmy Rankin serenading me on my stereo and the lights of my van catching the fading glory of autumns’ colors in low bushes as I passed--bright reds, golds and fiery orange. As I turned corners and passed under the overhang of  trees and out into wide open fields, I topped the rise of a small hill, and the light of a crescent moon, slung low over the horizon, led the way and shone through the dark branches of taller trees that have already dropped most of their leaves.

I bought a diet coke and went and parked by the water---where someone named Zelda gives river adventures in pontoon boats. I turned off the van and took deep breaths of the crisp air……I heard some movement from the water, a few birds trilling in the night air and the faint sound of traffic.

After a while I started my van to drive home and sang along softly with Jimmy and cranked the heat so I could be warm as I got the full joy of my return drive and the smells of autumn’s night.  I felt renewed---I had been hidden from the busyness of humanity—just for a few minutes—which was just long enough to reclaim my peace and be fresh for the little ones tomorrow.

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