Autumn London

Hampstead Heath

Autumn in London can be the finest of times, an interegnum, summer dispossessed, winter yet to take the crown. The Sun sings it’s  swan song, a fleeting goodbye, brings clear blue skies, warmth on the skin for a little while longer. This is a mellow time, the colours of Autumn, I think of Hampstead Heath, a walk amongst tall trees, wellington booted, rustling leaves, winter coats brought out of cupboards, I think of wooly scarves and soft scented necks and a different time.

As the season slips away, September sun wanes and October brings a little chill and a lot of rain. Each morning I hop on my bike, push pedals, get my heart & lungs working, it’s all about moving. I am a visitor here now on these streets, the ones I know so well, this isn’t home, my instincts are to move on. To follow the Sun to warmer climes, where I have nothing to explain or to justify, or to apologise for, where nobody knows me.

I go into town, to Standfords in Covent Garden, a 160 year old emporium of maps and travel guides, it calls itself the largest of it’s kind in the world, wander those shelves and you will understand why. Here Shackleton secured charts for his  Antarctic expeditions, Captain Scott likewise his own, for me I am looking for maps for warmer climes, no great explorations, just my own little journey, for guides along the way. I leave an hour later, a pile of maps and guides, some to learn more about the places I know, that I want to revisit only now more deeply, others for  places that I’ve only read about. There is a magic in the names of places, conjurers of the unknown, distant lands, my little list, my bucket list of places to see, of things I want to do, of course it is my escape, here in London I hang yesterdays around my neck and they weigh me down.

Maybe I will come back feeling whole, feeling strong in myself, the cancerian that lies at the centre of me, that desires home, warmth, affection, to belong, he is the man that I cannot conjure, cannot feel, cannot be. Instead there is a gypsy, rootless, wandering, that wants to lose himself in far away places, that thinks maybe he will find himself there. Let’s see.

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