SIMPLY SEPTEMBER

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There’s something deliciously familiar and reassuring about the arrival of September… and my love for it is multifaceted. So much so that I sometimes struggle to communicate what it is that sends me quietly giddy for the month that heralds the beginning of my favourite time of year. But in the interest of some seasonally appropriate musings, I’ll give it a go. 

If you were a reader of Online Stylist, Forty Not Out before that… and 39 And Counting way back in the day, my lyrical stylings about this month will have an admittedly familiar ring to them by now. Clean slates, new beginnings, that back to school feeling, falling leaves, the crunch of acorns under foot - I embrace each and every single Pinterest image, hashtag search and emoji representation of autumn’s arrival. When you put it all together, it induces those warm feelings of cosiness and the ingrained nesting instinct that, thanks to the Danes, we can officially identify as one of the concepts of Hygge. Come to think of it, I’ll never run out of things to thank the Danes for.

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Dear September, I Simply Love You… And Here’s Why…

To reach the month that marks the last quarter of the year means that I have survived the summer holidays - surely a challenge to test the metal of any parent. I recall photographing H’s first ever pair of school shoes for a blog post written many years ago about how I could hardly deal with the fact that she was starting school. And now here we are… heading into Year 10 - the low ground, muddy foothold of the GCSE climb years. Which by the way, might just be the stage that actually finishes me off unless I can finally get my calm and centred shit together.

That furtive shuffling you hear? Thats me frantically downloading ALL the meditation Apps and squirrelling away my pennies for extra therapy sessions on how to be a laid-back parent under every conceivable circumstance.

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Onto marginally less stressful aspects and come September I allow myself to officially think about the Holiday Season, which in years gone by has filled me with unbridled joy. These days I admit that my love for all things festive bubbles away at a more tepid temperature due to a continual stream of events we’re now blandly referring to as “life happenings”. Those and watching a child that believed in magic grow into a teen with a reluctant but nonetheless burgeoning understanding of life’s ups and downs. It’s not the same as it was - nothing ever is - but I’m vowing to make my own magic and seek out the small seasonal joys every time winter and Christmas roll around. Adapting to circumstances and adopting new rituals feels like the way forward. The notion of losing a love for the season solely due to the twists and turns of life makes me sad to my core and would feel like a big win for cynicism. Of which we already have plenty thank you.

Maybe my adoration for September stems from the subtle blurring that is the prelude to proper seasonal change. Tanned limbs reside under light layers, warm sunny days laced with morning and evening chill, some days a jacket, some days not. There’s a familiar feeling of comfort in these annual contradictions and I embrace them with open, still tanned arms.

Then there are the perks of nature that come with living in this part of the world. Biscuit and I can reclaim the beach once more, meaning I can watch her roam at will, unencumbered by my fear of imminent picnic invasions of epic proportions. I’m still not over the chicken and spinach platter that she stole from two (thankfully) good-natured Australians last year. I also won’t miss the repeat encounter with that tourist who holds a ball at increasingly higher levels of arms length, thereby inducing further manic leaping from a ball-obsessed Labrador who can’t comprehend that not every spherical object on the planet isn’t meant for her enjoyment.

Dear Non-Dog Owners, if you keep your arms by your sides, she’ll stop jumping and sometimes, just sit and stare at the ball.

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Watching the slow transition of the Forest from vivid green to the much more palatable hues of gold, yellow, bronze and rust is always a joy to behold. Before I became a dog owner I would pick up armfuls of fallen leaves and scatter them on the breeze with childlike abandon. These days, knowing more than I wish to on the subject of “places my dog likes to pee”, a good shuffle and kick-up moment in suitably appropriate footwear will suffice. 

Then there's the comical honks of the geese that repeatedly gather in the local fields, rounding up the stragglers of the group in readiness for migration. It feels to me that their daily sorties in V-formation serve as a series of well-organised test runs for the impending long flight south. I feel I should ask Patrick about this - he’s become something of a Birder over the years and will happily research anything to do with the habits and habitats of the local feathered community. Which reminds me, I need to watch The Big Year again. Life is always better served up with the occasional Steve Martin movie.

And it would be remiss of me not to give autumn style a mention wouldn’t it? Quite what it is about sliding arms into long sleeves again, pulling on a pair of ankle boots or winding a favourite cashmere scarf about my neck, I don’t know. What I do know is that the very thought of it gives me the kind of goosebumps and flutters that defy explanation. Sartorial suspense? The style shivers? Whatever the description, I find myself afflicted with it/them. 

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Dressing for autumn is both easy and exciting in equal measure. You can drape, wrap and envelop yourself in folds of comfort whilst experimenting with mixing summer elements with those stolen from winter. Bare legs and ankle boots, flimsy skirts with chunky sweaters… and don’t get me started on the style scope to be found in biker jackets and exposed ankles.

And finally, but possibly not as I don’t think my simply September list is exhaustive by any means, it feels like the perfect time for trying something new. Big or small, impactful or frivolous. Instigating a change or two during this month feels way better than any that I might half-heartedly attempt in January. We’re still high on sunlight and evenings spent outdoors, replete with Rosé and revelling in the restfulness that comes from slowing down the pace of life. NOW is the time to seize the moment, grab that (insert autumnal animal here) by the horns and act.

Think how smug you’ll feel that you’re way ahead of the (pointless) New Years resolutions game… and that’s before you even have to deal with Christmas!

Yep… I simply love September and I’m ready to immerse myself in every single day - after all, there’s only thirty of them up for grabs...