The months run together into a seamless blur but the change from summer into autumn is recognisably here. As we transition through seasons, I find myself drawn to appreciate the outside world more so than ever. And for another year I recognise how I will miss the light and the warmth of the summer days.
And yet, I enjoy the shiver of the early mornings. I enjoy being able to watch the sunrise. I enjoy collecting conkers with the girls. I enjoy the harvest of apples. I enjoy finding the last bit of sunshine and feeling the contrast in temperature between the sun and the shade. I am grateful for being able to enjoy the outside world that little longer before I know I will spend more time inside.
Because that is the truth. Living in suburban London means that it takes more time and effort to find what I would describe as the proper outside. I get no joy from walking endless streets. To me outside means a large enough expanse of sky and a decent amount of greenery (or brownery/orangery if you know what I mean!). It is a good 20 minute drive before I can find what I desire.
So I have the tendency to come inside, to hibernate for winter. But being outside is good for mental health (loosely termed ecotherapy). The cooler weather, darker days and being inside more always heralds a change in mood for me, turning inwards. This year our fire is out of action too due to the builders, so no glowing flames to warm my spirits.
But. I am a person who enjoys the outside, takes relish from being in the elements when no-one else is. My favourite time to run is the very early morning before the world awakes. I love to be on the beach when there is a gale blowing and the sea reaches my toes on the prom. Having children I have learned I can still enjoy splashing in puddles, rather than run from the rain.
Appreciating the outdoors has made me think. How I can get outside more in the coming winter? Most of the time my resistance to going outside is simply the barriers of thinking where to go, getting appropriately dressed and biting the bullet. I know that I enjoy it once I’m doing it. I probably do it more than I think I do. And I have hatched a plan.
Developing a habit of doing something and recording it has proved beneficial for me with gratitude. So as my IG account reaches its first birthday, I’m going to start posting pictures of my forays into the outside, using #365outside. It’s not a new hashtag but I feel it describes what I want to show – getting outside whatever, staying positive.
(Still no progress on the sorting photographic records front…aargghh! Maybe I should give up!?!)