Do you remember, way back in March, when we were young and full of hope? Oh God. Anyway, do you remember thinking, ‘Right, so we’ll all lockdown for a few weeks – it’s not so much to ask – and then it will all be over and everything will be back to normal’?
Then, if we were lucky enough to feel safe and well-housed, came the gratitude. The tiniest terrace. The space to work that’s somewhere other than the bed. The privilege of having any work to actually do and be paid for. Health. Sky. An Ocado order arriving. Then, summer. Whatever that delivered.
And then. Yes, then. Then….what. WHAT? We all knew we weren’t emotionally ready for…what, exactly? For this. Yes, for this strange and sinister September, unlike any September we have lived through.
Because, consistently, over the last many years, September has retained its crisp flavour of autumn optimism. Anything could happen. Rather than the current internal howl of ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.
September: all brown forearms against grey jumpers. New plans, hopes, kit. Perhaps even a swell of energy as opposed to the current sense of…what now?
The trouble with this September is that it doesn’t feel like a beginning. There is no newness; no fresh stimuli; no new territories. If we are lucky enough to be fine and coping then we are just… fine and coping. Feeling older and, perhaps, calmer. But wanting, seeking, hungry for joy. Fresh, autumn joy. Joy with a side order of naughty. Naughty with some lightly salted new. But we are grateful nonetheless. A little muted. Rather tired. But still grateful. Because without gratitude there is…even less.