In the UK, autumn can sometimes be quite a depressing time of the year. The long summer days have drawn to a close and winter is fast approaching. With months of drizzly days and gale force winds lying ahead, we desperately try to cling onto the last vestiges of summer for as long as we possibly can.
People often say that this is the time of year to stay inside. We should snuggle up, settle down and hibernate like bears. While I don’t disagree with easing the pace of life, I never stop longing for the great outdoors. I look for any opportunity to get out of the house.
Today has been one of those autumn days that we crave so much. The clouds lifted, the rain stopped and the wind settled. I had a gap between classes so I popped out with my girlfriend and her dog. We seemed to be joining an almost stampede of sun-deprived families and dog walkers all heading for the hills to make the most of the clear skies.
We’re all so desperate for a glimpse of the sun. Over the years I’ve developed several coping mechanisms to deal with the blues brought on by the grey dark days. For me, the most successful of these mind-hacks has been to take up hobbies that actually require “bad” weather. Though it may sound silly, buying a kite has really helped me to enjoy all these blustery days that we have round here.
Along the same vein, these parts are also popular for windsurfing, kitesurfing, paragliding and sailing. Us humans have come up with some clever ways to harness the power of the wind to propel us forwards or upwards in often highly dangerous but exciting ways.
How does one fall in love with torrential downpours? I find it a little harder to put a positive spin on the rain. Nonetheless, I first found myself pining for rain when I started to grow vegetables in an unused part of my auntie’s garden. The more it rained, the more we were able to grow. Eating homegrown tomatoes felt like a kind of primal pleasure.
Nowadays, I’ve discovered a new reason to look forward to the heavy rains that we get in autumn. Activated by high-humidity, mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes pop up across the countryside. I don’t have enough confidence in my ability to differentiate the edible from the poisonous yet but I enjoy spotting them. I’m fascinated by these weird alien creatures; not quite plant, nor animal but a kingdom of their own.
Despite it being a perfectly sunny day, it had been raining for a week so it was no surprise to find so many mushrooms on display, each unique and interesting in its own way. Some were big and chunky, others were thin and spindly. Some huddled together in groups while others seemed to be lone rangers.
We couldn’t hang around very long as we were on our lunch break so we soon headed home. I checked the weather report when I got back. Of course, rain is forecast for tomorrow. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world, I thought to myself.
to draw to a close (idiom) : to end slowly
fast-approaching (adjective) : arriving soon (collocates with winter, Christmas, a deadline)
to lie ahead (phrasal verb) : something which lies ahead is normally a negative thing that is going to happen to us in the future.
to cling onto (phrasal verb) : the opposite of let go (collocates with the last vestiges of, hope, life)
to snuggle up (phrasal verb) : the lie comfortably (with someone or something)
to get on with something (phrasal verb) : do something you should be doing (collocates with things, chores, work)
to long for something (phrasal verb) : to desperately miss and want something
to pop out (phrasal verb) : to leave the house for a short period of time
a stampede (noun) : a large groups of animals running in unison
to propel something (verb): to cause something to move forwards
to put a positive spin on something (idiom) : to give a reason why something is good and not bad
to pop up (phrasal verb) : to appear
to spot something (verb): to notice something which is hard to see or rarely seen
chunky (adjective) : big, wide, boxy
spindly (adjective) : long and thin
to huddle together (phrasal verb) : to stand close to each other, often for protection or warmth
a lone ranger (noun) : somebody who operates alone and not with a team
to hang around (phrasal verb) : to remain in a place
to head somewhere (verb) : to go in the direction of somewhere (complements, adverbs and propositions mirror the verb go. For example:
- go to work/head to work
- go home/head home
- go out/head out
- go south/head south