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  • Writer's pictureAnna Brankin

An Ode to Autumn

A small child walking across fallen leaves in the autumn sunshine

Over the past couple of months I’ve been revelling in all the seasonal delights of autumn while wishing for time to slow down; for the long, langorous afternoons in the sunshine and cosy evenings in front of the fire to last just a while longer. It’s not just the season that I’d like to pause though, but the moment in time that it represents. I’m definitely not the first person to observe that time seems to simultaneously speed up and slow down when you become a parent. This autumn, my kōtiro is 14 months old and absolutely unstoppable. Our daily adventures to the park cover a lot less ground as she navigates the world on her own two feet, and there’s no better way to remind myself of the beauty of the season than through the eyes of a toddler discovering it for the first time. Every shiny conker is more “oh wow” than the last, the crunch of every leaf increasingly delightful.


 Autumn hasn’t always been my favourite season. I used to be a big fan of spring, largely because of my September birthday alongside all the obvious reasons (frolicking lambs, blooming daffodils, the pervasive sense of new beginnings and untapped potential). Somewhere along the way, my enthusiasm for spring waned, possibly due to the late onset of seasonal allergies. A sense of joy and wonder becomes a lot harder to muster when your eyes are streaming and you can’t stop sneezing.

 

A small child walking towards the camera with autumn leaves in the background

It was about this time (my early twenties) that I started cycling to work regularly and began to fully appreciate autumn’s beauty, from the crisp bite in the air on the morning ride that makes the balmy sunshine on the way home all the more precious, to the autumnal palette of orange, red and yellow as leaves gradually change and then fall to the ground, crunching under the wheels of my bike. And the weather strikes the perfect middle ground between the hot summer nights and the frosts of winter that interfere with a good night’s sleep; to say nothing of that cosy feeling when the autumn evenings get cool enough to light the first fire of the year.


Yep, I’m definitely a fan, and this year, autumn seems especially magical. Last year, I was deep in the newborn fog and the changing seasons completely passed me by. One minute I was 41 weeks hapū and miserable in the middle of a February heatwave, and the next it was June and I was fretting how to keep a pēpi warm on frosty mornings.

 

Perhaps this autumn is so special because it’s the first time I’ve been so aware of the passing of time, as each developmental milestone brings with it a sense of impending nostalgia as well as new opportunities to look forward to. After passing four full seasons in motherhood I have caught a glimpse of what people mean when they say the days are slow but the years are fast. For now, I’ll enjoy every slow morning and lazy afternoon that autumn brings our way because I know that winter will be here before I know it.

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