Monday, July 27, 2009

Winds of Change

It is one of those mornings when the garden brings in a new kind of breeze, the breeze of premature autumn. It doesn’t matter that it is all an explosion of leaves, flowers and grasses because a whiff of autumn rides the air long before we can think that autumn is definitely here.

The generally vile summer weather has not helped either. Remember when I was wishing the heat to hell at the end of June, so that we could drop around a pleasant 20C mark? Well, this morning it was 13C, the sort of coolness that made me wonder how soon I will be able to start wearing my long brown coat again, the superb shaggy jacket that I bought in Milan last year, and that makes me look a bit like a pink Yeti, or the soft creamy one that my parents gave me for Christmas.

Ah yes Christmas. On Saturday I received The Bridgewater Hall autumn programme, which also included a Christmas extra. There are lots of fabulous concerts to look forward to but, as I leafed, I also wondered about our inability to enjoy the present. We are always so brainwashed into thinking about the future, from a commercial perspective, that we hardly get to live it once it becomes the present. I do not like Christmas decorations coming down the day after, to be supplanted by those horrid SALE signs everywhere. I’d much rather we actually enjoyed the twelve days of Christmas when it is Christmas, rather than starting three months earlier and finishing in mid-December, before Christmas has even happened.

Then at the end of December there will be a Valentine’s section at John Lewis, and then as Valentine’s approaches there will be an Easter section, then the summer section will hit the store in March. The kids have only just come off the school year around my parts and I have already come across plenty of shops, from JL to Marks, advertising the ‘Back to School’ items. In fact, the signs were already up three weeks ago. Blimey, cannot these kids enjoy the weeks off before we start bombarding them about getting back to school?

And so I think that we are programmed to live in the just-out-of-reach future, eight-to-ten weeks ahead of the calendar, thinking of Easter in January or of Halloween in August. Perhaps it makes us feel better when the present day hasn’t turned out as thrilling as we expected. While it feels like autumn out there, even though it doesn’t look it, it feels somewhat normal to think of it. I am both victim and perpetrator here: one part of me rants that it’s July and why am I looking at the Christmas concert leaflet, and the other says that it’s a good idea they send the programme out so early, so that you can get organised in time. Well, I am a Virgo after all.

But the winds of change may be in the air for me too. There is nothing to tell as yet, but there may be soon enough.
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