Preparing for Autumn

It is a bleak and windy day. Living on a headland, jutting out into the North Sea, we often get the sort of blustery winds that you expect a mile or so out to sea, when the boat leaves the shelter of the shore. Here there is no shelter, just the sea surrounding us on three sides. The wind is whistling through the vents on the window, the light feels like the sun has taken a duvet-day and declined to put in more than a token appearance, rain drops spatter the slanted glass. For the first time since last winter I have picked up my thickest cardigan from where it lies, ready for days like this. I am warm, I am working.

Today, it appears, is the first day of autumn, at least as far as the weather goes. We are in a kind of hiatus: all the summer activities are done, culminating in the bank holiday. The tourists are beginning to depart and, in another few days, school will be back and the house will quieten down as well.

This feels like a time of waiting, a pause between two seasons. I’m sitting at my desk, looking ahead, planning activities for the next few months at work. Advent and Christmas and all the preparations needed are beginning to become a reality that should be dealt with before it gets out of hand. Next week, all the term-time weekly activities will begin again and things will get busy.

Autumn will be very different this year. My boss has moved on to another role and has not yet been replaced, so I am discovering more of the tasks that need doing. I’m still not completely back into the rhythm of work after maternity leave – stopping work before Advent and coming back after Easter and Pentecost means that I’ve missed out on most of the ups and downs of the year. The weekly routine is falling back into place, and I’m working on establishing routines for things that happen every month and so on, but the bigger spiritual picture is still somewhat elusive.

There’s the added frisson of applying for jobs as well. My contract here runs out next summer, so our family is living with uncertainty, knowing that every significant event now is the last time here.

I’m grateful for quiet days like this, when there is time to reflect on what is happening. In a few minutes I will look at the readings for Sunday’s sermon, then go and sit down and knit on some socks while I think about what I will say.