The changing of seasons is always a special time. Each season brings with it memories from childhood, traditions, celebrations, things that you look forward to and sometimes things that you don’t. Whatever the seasons mean to you, they are such an important part of life’s rhythm.
Here, autumn has arrived. The days are quickly shortening, and once again we are treated to a wonderful display of the stars and sometimes the aurora borealis, before we go to bed.
Daytime routines have to change, to fit important jobs into the hours of daylight. It seems like a bit of a juggling act at first, until you manage to find your autumn/winter pace.
I usually find pleasure in all of the seasons, but this year, I have spent most of spring and summer dreading the approach of colder weather. Memories of our first month here, when we were so very cold, have plagued my thoughts. A feeling of desperate urgency, to get as much done to the house and cabin as possible, before autumn, has clouded my mind.
But this much dreaded season, has actually brought me gift. It’s the gift of resetting my mind, of letting go of all of those negative thoughts and seeing the world and its possibilities afresh.
“A change is as good as a rest”, is one of my favourite sayings. After all, a mum with a big home educated family, in a busy modern world, has little chance for rest! But four times a year, we are given the chance to turn the page, put tensions behind us and move forward with a lighter heart.
All of a sudden I find myself realising that I have settled into our new home. All the more so, for diving into a spot of autumn cleaning. There’s nothing like the first chilly days of September, to get me in the mood for a good clear out. Re-organising and deep cleaning, ready for the days when you just want to be cosy indoors, while the storms rage outside.
Although we still have many jobs that need to be done in preparation for winter (which in Orkney starts in mid-autumn and carries on until mid-spring), my thoughts have shifted to making the most of good weather days with my children. So my routines are getting a good autumn clean too – take everything out, reorganise and then put it all back!
Sure, there are outdoor jobs that will be difficult to get done in the high winds of winter, but even winter has calm days, so work on the house and cabin will still carry on, just at a slower pace until spring.
And what of those first weeks of living here? They were so hard! I thought for a while, that we’d made a dreadful mistake.
Well, although it sometimes feels like we haven’t achieved much this year, in reality, there are huge differences to those early days. We now laugh about the unusual living arrangements, split between the house and cabin, the lack of a working sink anywhere, the lack of running hot water, a toilet that flushes, heating (more on that in a moment!) and strip washing with a bucket.
All of these things, that seemed so extreme back in February, coming from our temporary holiday accommodation, with life’s creature comforts and all mod cons, are now just a normal part of everyday life to us. They can still be challenging at times and I will still look forward to progressing with the renovations and having a little more convenience, but as summer changes to autumn, I realise that the dread is gone.
So I can enjoy baking comfort foods for chilly days and I can take pleasure in the last of this years flowers, before they fade. I can allow myself an extra hour in bed occasionally or a quiet hour doing some crochet. I can remember to take pleasure in all of the little moments, that make life special – stopping to watch a snail with my children, snuggling under covers to look through recipe books together, leaving an ‘oh so important job” until tomorrow, so that we can finish a book that we’re enjoying reading together!
I find that I am looking forward to all of winters celebrations. Seeing the house and cabin all decorated for Christmas and the winter birthdays. It will be the first time in over two decades that this house has enjoyed a decorated tree and a wreath on the door. That’s going to feel good!
I am sure that we will still be cold this winter, I mean there’s an energy crisis right?! But we are actually having some heating installed in a couple of months! Even if we can only afford to run it some of the time, it will take the edge off those bitingly cold months. And that coupled with all of the work that we’ve been doing on the windows and doors, will make such a big difference.
So, “Hello Autumn, you’re very welcome!” and thank you for the gift that you have given me.
Are you finding joy in the change of seasons? I hope that you are, and remember to find the sunshine in everyday.