Autumn has come. It settled gently about us, one falling leaf and then two, the world turning from green to russet so gently that I almost didn’t notice the change at all. The cold crept beneath the duvet, wrapping itself around my toes. One blanket no longer seems enough. And it is strange, because wasn’t it just the other day that I lay awake past midnight, too huge and too hot to sleep? My little girls were summer treasures; where has the summer gone?
And yet they are smiling, cooing and almost laughing. They are little people with big personalities, preferences. Without us even noticing, the newborn phase has passed.
Summer is gone, and it has left us these perfect little girls.
The other day I was reorganising my book shelves, which is something that you do when your other half orders you to be tidier but you don’t actually want to scrub your bathroom, and I found myself rereading Louise Gluck’s Averno. Averno tells the myth of Persephone’s abduction ‘which should be read/as an argument between the mother and the lover—/the daughter is just meat.’.
Persephone used to be ‘my’ mythological figure. I had a pendant based on the painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and I wore it almost constantly for a long time. I have a habit of stroking my collarbone when I’m nervous – I don’t know why – and I would fiddle with the pendant instead. Silly. But I realised, reading this book again, that I feel for Demeter now. That I think of my daughters and my heart tugs.
I still cannot quite believe that I am a mother to four, that I am not just babysitting these sweet children but I get to keep them forever and ever. That they are mine. Balthazar, Lysander, Embla, Olympia. So many syllables, so many names. I get to do motherhood a little like how my grandmother did motherhood; four children, two of each. And that means something. My grandmother is probably the relative to whom I am closest. I don’t mean in the talks-on-the-phone-every-day sense, but in a deeper way: we think the same. We are passionate in the same way. She has her religion and I’m not religious at all, but we both have our beliefs and we really live them. Face-first, submerged. If at eighty I am half the woman she is, I will be so proud.
(Are you reading this, Nan? I never know whether you read the blog or whether you just steal my photos and caption them on your facebook wall. If you’re reading this, I love you, thank you for being in my life.)
Autumn brings some of my favourite festivities: the boys’ birthday, halloween, bonfire night. Fireworks and hot chocolates and that mounting excitement that Christmas is just around the corner. I love bursts of colour and light in an otherwise grey and darkened world. I love the excuse to pull out the winter coats, the wellington boots, the jumpers (the tasteful and the tacky). I love to snuggle down at night grateful for the warmth of Kirsty in my bed, the dog on my feet.
Not to mention the clothes. Richer colours, textures, layering. I know how to undress for summer, but I know how to dress for autumn. Thick socks, boots. Velvet coats.
Little Green Radicals sent the girls these babygrows to cosy up in this season. We are big fans of Little Green Radicals in our house, we have many items of clothing for which we’ve paid our own money and we have reviewed them on several occasions. There’s not much that we can say that we haven’t said before; we love that these items are organic, that they are sustainable, that they really look after the people that work for them. We love how hard-wearing the clothes are, we love the colours and the designs.
I think that their offerings this season might be my favourite yet.
How are you preparing for autumn in your home?