12 September 2007

Autumn Almanac

Autumn has arrived with September, which is what used to happen every year when I was young: my birthday would come and go, the summer holidays would come to an end, and I would return to school. The transition from one season to the next has not been clearly defined for many years, but this year there has been no prelude to autun unless you count the feeble summer.
Without warning I am getting up in the dark, making coffee and shaving by artificial light, and even attaching lights to my bike before setting off. A long-sleeved top is also called for now, and gloves will be needed before long. The countryside, seen from the top of Hagbourne Hill, is an even gray sheet, a lake, of mist out of which rise trees, hedges, pylons, buildings and (look round to the west) a power station. At which point, as I head downhill again and move to the crown of the road to turn right, a silver Ford Escort ascending the hill at something over sixty miles an hour and straddling the white line narrowly misses me. The interval between my seeing it coming and it being past and gone was so short, the episode remains in my memory as two still images.

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