Autumn has crept up again, slinking its way into the air on a cool breeze; sliding into bed next to you as you sleep. Those hot sticky nights and fresh morning swims are a distant memory. The lush greens turn to golden hues, radiating the warmth that the days will quickly lose. Conkers are now the rich treasure of the ground, collected on the way home; their smooth surface rubbed lovingly by fingers in pockets.

It has always been my favourite season. When the air is cold enough to wear cashmere and polo necks. Afternoon walks filled with the crunch of leaves. Dusting off the winter coat. Crisp mornings, hot soups and mashed potato. Baked camembert. New pens and the smell of fresh notebooks. Roasted squash and pumpkin. The countdown to Christmas.

Autumn is a season of change and fresh starts, far more than the grey January days when resolutions slip away as soon as you’ve made them. There is an optimism in the brightness of autumn, the light may be fading but it lingers on. I’ve always fallen prey to ‘back to school’ syndrome; marching into September with an army of new ambitions; goals that need conquering; dreams that want fulfilling. In the past, romantic plans made in summer and embarked on in autumn have crumbled as winter comes; a move to Cornwall that never materialised, a career in a classroom that ended abruptly.

So I’m entering this autumn with some trepidation. It’s another new start. I’m going back to university to start a masters degree. Despite good intentions – a tidy desk, new books – I can’t help thinking of those autumns past, which started golden but ended in emptiness. I know that past me would have enjoyed the moment, indulged in my favourite autumnal pleasures and revelled in the possibilities of the season.

I hope the magic of autumn can conjure those feelings again.

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