Autumn is my favourite season. I don’t think you can beat a
cold, crisp, golden autumn day. Unfortunately, here in the Hebrides, it has
mainly been mild, soggy and grey. However, there have been other signs that
winter is approaching.
The migrant wild geese have been arriving from Canada and
Greenland. They arrive every year and seem to co-exist quite happily with their
native cousins. One skein was particularly noisy according to Skye naturalist,
Chris Mitchell, writing in our local paper, the West Highland Free Press. He
looked up on hearing the loud honking overhead and saw what he thought at first
was a young goose flying alongside the main group. Then he realised it was a
peregrine falcon chasing and harrying them. Must have been an incredible sight.
The Aurora Borealis was visible on a couple of clear nights
here at the beginning of October. This is apparently going to be a good winter
for Northern Lights spotting. It is an amazing spectacle and not one you can
see too often.
And the clocks have gone back. By December, it won’t be
light until nine a.m. this far north – and dusk will have fallen by three p.m.
The forecasters keep telling us that the snow is on its way – and there have
been flurries settling on the mountain tops. I’m all set – I think – I’ve got ice-grippers
for the soles of my boots, a lovely cosy new coat and a funky hat. The
emergency lights are charged, there are batteries for the radio and alternative
heating sources are primed.
At school, with Halloween over, the buzz is all about
Bonfire night, the Children-in-Need fundraiser – and, even (whisper it)
I love the anticipation of it all. I like the dark – the
big, starry skies – Venus clearly visible as both night and morning star – and Jupiter
in the west as darkness falls. I like wrapping up warm for a visibly breathy
walk and then drawing the curtains and battening down. I love a snowy
landscape. And I love being at my desk writing as the wind and rain batter on
the window – no guilt that I should be gardening or out on a hike. Come to
think of it – maybe winter’s my favourite.
But then after the Solstice, and as the days slowly eke out
again, I get excited about the arrival of spring – followed by those very long,
twenty hour days of summer daylight…
No – it’s true – my favourite season always seems to be the
one we’re in currently – in other words no favourite. It’s the existence of the
seasons that I enjoy. I can’t imagine living in the tropics and not
experiencing the chapters of the year and all of nature’s facets.
So – let it snow. I’m a woman for all seasons.