Tuesday, 23 October 2012

One Fine Autumn Day

“I wonder what the trees must feel when the leaves start to fall.”

I was thinking out loud while my husband and I were walking through a tunnel of red, gold and orange foliage raining down and swirling around us until finally they land on the brightly carpeted ground.  It was a crisp mid-October morning with barely any clouds in the sky, a perfect day for a photo walk in the park at the bottom of our road.

“I suppose they would be glad, it must be very heavy carrying all that weight on their shoulders for at least six months,” I declared. It was ridiculous of course and John laughed, telling me that it is the branches that are heavy and not the leaves. But I argued that with the number of leaves a tree must carry, it could be very wearing and so they would probably be glad to have a seasonal break. There was no response to that, he is used to these wild contentions.

We carried on our walk, not oblivious to the crunching sound of dried leaves under our feet and the occasional squirrel running across our path as they gathered their winter stash. It was a typical weekend morning at Hillsborough Park: younger children in trolleys while older ones are playing football; dogs on their leads while their walkers are chatting with one another; and cyclists on their bikes while lovers walk hand in hand. Near the bottom of the park was a little man-made lake with squealing toddlers feeding the visiting ducks and geese.

“Britain is not all that bad you know,” I said, taking in the sights. At that moment, it felt very idyllic, the British lifestyle up North, away from the hustle and bustle of megacities (although of course Sheffield itself is a big city that has managed to keep itself suburban rather than metropolitan). Fifteen minutes on the tram and we are in the city centre, ten minutes in the car and we are in the countryside. Our community in Hillsborough is almost like a town: with a shopping district, a Methodist Church, a primary school, a college, a library, a leisure centre and more importantly, home to Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground.
“I didn’t say it was bad,” John replied. “In small doses it is beautiful. But there are better places to live in.” By that he meant warmer and he is right of course. The forecast on the Breakfast News that morning predicted days of mists hovering over the city’s skyline starting the next day, the less exciting bits of autumn was about to unfold. But at that moment, I’ve let the splashes of colours under the bright blue sky make me forget the gloomy days ahead. Yes, there are beautiful days in England but not a jolly lot of them that when you get one, it makes you block out memories of the less memorable days of the year.

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