Here in the middle of England we are in the midst of what might turn out to be an Indian summer, a phenomenon I’ve never experienced before. I’ve never seen it be this hot in autumn; I’ve never seen such blue sky with such yellow leaves.
Of course, because it’s warm everyone suddenly rediscovers the outdoors. I sound so bitter, but when I went to the park for a walk the other day it was so full of people, when just the other week there’d been a little downpour and I had walked the same park in complete solitude (which gave me a chance to have a sneaky go on the playground slide).
I know that most everyone loves warm weather. The weather presenters here are so in favour of it and seem so outraged when it dares to rain or snow (and I thought the BBC was supposed to be unbiased). Not me. I am not a heat person. Not when our houses aren’t built to stay cool in hot weather and the nights are stuffy as hell.
I had just got into the idea of autumn—letting go of carefree summer, knuckling down to work. Now I want fires and autumn walks and thick blankets and scarves and velvet and winter coats and Christmas. I had carefully packed my summer clothes away, relishing the sight of tights and jumpers,* only to have to pull a summer dress back out of hiding. The books on my to-read pile feel too heavy or serious for sunny weather (Parade’s End anyone? 800 pages?). All my autumn music I had mentally piled up doesn’t sound right. So I feel all mixed up and out of sorts and ready to throw a strop** at any moment.
I know I sound like a spoilt brat. After all, as a home-schooler, I am not having to commute in a hot car and toil away in an office or a classroom. I am actually very lucky to be able to be at home and slink away to the cool darkness of my bedroom whenever I want to. It’s really my anxiety. I’m hypersensitive to change. It takes me a while to come to terms with drastic fluctuations in weather or season.
To deal with this climatic confusion and its resulting fluctuations in my mood and comfort, I retreated into childhood this week. I found a YouTube channel with what seemed like every episode of Arthur ever made. Arthur was the one show I watched consistently throughout my whole childhood and even a little bit beyond.
I found myself laughing a lot, sometimes at jokes I wouldn’t have understood when I was younger. All the little tinkles of music were exactly the same and hearing them brought a warm feeling of nostalgia. I watched as many episodes as I could before my eyelids closed of their own accord. And I found myself, for what seemed like the first time ever, wishing I was a child again.
When my friends and I were 12, 13, 14, a lot of them would tell me how much they wished they could go back in time to childhood. I thought they were absolutely crazy. For so long I had wanted to be grown up and have responsibility and be thought of as mature and sophisticated. I tried to distance myself from anything “childish.” I stopped reading teen novellas and decided on more adult books. I didn’t wish to partake in old playground games on the school field. But in the past year or so I have “matured” at such a rapid pace—from my thought processes to my body image to my views on life and independence—that it’s actually quite tiring.
I am 18 in six months. Six months doesn’t seem a lot to me at all. So many things have changed even since I turned 17. I’ve discovered what I really want from life. Maybe. Well, even if I am not there yet, I am edging closer.
** Pitch a fit.