Monday, August 24, 2009

Winter's Coming

I walked out on the balcony one evening. A friend of mine was sitting in the living room. I stepped outside and looked around. Then came a breeze from my left, from the river side. I turned my head and could see the fields on the outskirts of Leeds afar and I knew immediately what was happening. It was in the breeze, just in a tiny amount. "Autumn is coming!" I exclaimed, almost surprised to hear my own words. My friend in the living room started saying "No no no!" and telling me to keep my mouth shut! I didn't. I like the Autumn! I was born in the Autumn. In the Autumn, people come down from the mountains and I have them by myself.

Today, as I was walking from the cinema in Bradford I had the sensation again. Only different. I could feel the Winter! It's not very cold at the moment. Not cold at all in the days and I wondered what it was. That subtle bite of the chill after sundown marks the entrance to both seasons. But the air tonight was dead in that it had no sense of change to plants and greens in it. There was nothing apart from the background of the city. Few things can grow in the Winter and the air carries witness to this.

So is it because I'm an Autumn child? Is it the acquired skills of a trekking guide? Or maybe you think I am mad. I don't know, but I think the Autumn and Winter is so native to me that I can sense some of their traits. We will have many sunny and warm days before the seasons change still. They may not be sunny and warm by tropical standard, but by North-West European indeed! But the little tales of the change to come has made their presence noted. Change in many ways I presume since I graduate in October. Though my educational journey is not over, this journey I embarked on in Singapore in the Summer months of 2005 comes to a close. And that means that where next stop is determines how much of the chill I get to enjoy.

There is a native tribe up North in Norway that used to have an old practice I shared much respect for. They traditionally lived in tents and some still do. The practice was: if a child was born in the snowy seasons they would take the top off the tent on the third day and let it snow into the tent. The three day old newborn child would be held up naked against the opening and snow would fall on it. Not for long off course, but by doing so the loving parents believed they prepared the child to be extra resistant to chill for the rest of its life. To modern city people it may seem barbaric, but coming from someone who could run around in the snow in shorts and t-shirt it doesn't seem too bad at all. And I wonder! -had they ever found the chill resistance to be true throughout the life-span of a person? If they did maybe I should do it to my kids one day!

I used to think something like this had happened to me. I could cope with chill like a rock can, but in recent years I have found that I actually need clothes. If the change brings me back into the chill, maybe I'll regain some of my old winter-strength? If it keeps me where it is warmer I'm sure I'll gain or regain something else instead.


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