Season of the mist
I can't really fault Lucy Mangan's thoughts on autumn, or for that matter the other seasons, though I take issue with the headline (which of course may not be hers).
For allotmenteers, autumn is a benign season, in a windy, squelchy sort of way. I love the milky skies and the temperate dampness, and the way you can be down to a T-shirt one minute, and snuggled into fleece the next*. The soil is uniquely receptive to attention, and some of the things you have been carefully nurturing for many months finally deliver their bounty: the sweetcorn, the amaranth**, the beetroot, the best of the courgettes, the bulk of the tomatoes, all come with the autumn.
But there are flip sides. For permanent residents of the studentified neighbourhoods of university towns, it can be a hellish time. A whole new set of people you have to hope won't vomit noisily outside your house at 4 am. A whole new set of awkward and occasionally aggressive late night encounters and next-day follow ups. A whole new set of domestic discussions about the ethics of retaliatory tyre slashing and stink bombs through letterboxes. Though also a whole new chance to hear young people sitting round twig fires in their gardens talking about the proletariat and the Iliad.***
And for any product of a northern hemisphere education system, autumn is a time of change, and for change. We can't help but remember the milestones of Septembers and Octobers past, however romantically or otherwise painful they may have been. I think this is reflected in the workplace: we're halfway through the financial year and three quarters of the way through the calendar year yet still this is a time for new beginnings. I would like to see the figures for 'most popular month to resign'. I reckon September's up there.
I think it's a time for reflection, a time for melancholy, and a time for searching for and seizing the light. As for cheerful, that's for the birds.
* This applies to all outdoor activities, it's just that once Hinksey Pool closes at the end of September, I don't have many.
*** One set of our immediate neighbours are always Oxford Brookes students. The other set are always Oxford University students. You can generally tell which is which at 100 paces. Sad but true.