Mists and mellow fruitfulness…Keat’s lovely words for a time of year I had always thought of as bringing crisp, sunny days, a quickened step, and a time of busyness preparing for the long winter ahead. A time when the heavy sleep of summer is blown gently from our eyes along with the falling leaves, a time to reassess; a time for new beginnings.
This past summer brought many changes to my life and it feels as though my autumn tasks have already been accomplished. I sold my home, most of my belongings, watched as my son moved on into adulthood and my mother moved on to her own new adventure—living on her own at 78 for the first time. I was finally free to do the things I had always dreamed of.
As I begin my second month in the UK, I find that there is plenty of both mist, and mellow fruitfulness. At times, the mist does seem endless, but when the golden sun of autumn creeps over the lush green hills and valleys, it takes my breath away.
I have settled into a life that is at once familiar yet, so very different. Who knew that English would be so difficult to understand? It seems rude to ask people to repeat themselves when you speak their native tongue—well, sort of... I have yet to drive a car here. I learned to drive in New Jersey, taking the circles at 65 mph, how hard could a roundabout be? Left side of the road, wrong side of the car, signs in two different languages- is that MPH or KPH? I think I’ll wait. In America we are so used to jumping in the car and going, when and if, but now a taxi or a bus or waiting for a ride, and suddenly a gallon of milk is not such an urgent need.
But then, the mellow fruitfulness; I am writing more. The peace and quiet I longed for, in abundant supply. The long walks discovering new places; the villages of winding alleys and cobbled streets, cities blending hundreds of years of history with modern offices and McDonalds, and the endless sea. A simple meal or a cup of coffee in the sunshine becomes a joy and the difference in cultures—I have had several people working on my apartment this week and the words; ’Come in, would you like a cup of tea’ have now become second nature. I am still working on the ‘sleeping in’ part of this dream come true, but old habits die hard. Ah, but where there is hope…
I have no goals of reinventing myself. I do not think of this as my new life or feel the need to force myself to be better, to try harder, to prove anything. I am working hard on many projects because I am doing what I love. The words are flowing from me and I no longer worry that I am not good enough. I write the way I write, because it is what is inside of me. I cannot force a square peg into a round hole. I will always strive to be better, but I know that will only happen if I am true.
We are always waiting for life to begin, a time when everything will be just how we want it to be. When we will be, who we think we should be. Yes, I am fortunate to have this opportunity, but I made it happen, took the leap. I am fortunate to be able to do what I love, in a place I want to be, but again…It was scary and I am still not sure where it will lead me For the first time in my life, I like who I am and how things are. I have waited long enough.