Happy Ghosts

The crop circle season is coming to a close. The fields are fast being harvested, as the year here in England is on the turn. You can smell it in the early morning air. There is a cold stillness around as if the plants are taking a breather, before casting off their clothes for hibernation or death. The robin has started singing, a sure sign that Autumn is drawing close.

I love this change of season. The mist dripping off the agapanthus leaves fills me with delight. I am glad to be alive, minute by minute squeezing every drop out of the day. Time thrift I call it. The older I get, the more important become the simple things. The colour of the nasturtium flowers, the green of the bamboo that sighs beside the shed. The shed itself with its lace curtain and pottery plate, rescued in pieces from a Majorcan skip.

Season of mists and general thoughts of ghostliness. I wonder which of this year’s formations will leave their  indelible mark on the land. Also I reflect on the ghostly pentimento left behind by the Boy to haunt my days. Memories of nights under canvas on wilderness hikes, the rain pattering on the roof, while the two of us talked excitedly of atoms and constellations, both at the same time of course,  creating a rhythm that was ours and is now well nigh impossible to rub away. Autumn is the time for reflection and of its nature carries   grief. Age will identify in many ways. More and more I suspect.

The September Issue has been on the bookstands for a week or so. I don’t even buy it any more, so irrelevant to age is Vogue. My grandaughter, Laverne, reminds me that it was my magazines by the loo that turned her on to high fashion and in time catapulted her into the world of fashion blogging. She’s off to university in a few weeks time and her fledgling flights this last year have left little time for Grallie, which is exactly as it should be. I miss her but know she’s following me into a life of fun, fantasy and philosophy. I bet she’s even at this moment sorting out her undergraduate wardrobe, just as I did all those years ago.

In the 60’s, armed with the September issue of Seventeen magazine (US edition) I , and my faithful old Singer, constructed a student wardrobe from a pile of quality cloth and a selection of customised Butterick patterns.  There were various skirts, straight and A line, with matching waistcoats, a short silk tube dress for evenings, which I wore with an amazing set of huge beads. Several times they broke in lifts or on escalators and got collected and rethreaded, growing ever shorter until they ended up at graduation as a choker.

I was big on accessories. A long looped black wool scarf wound round and round my neck with a black cloche on my head, which for some reason made me feel like Julie Christie. I had a pair of green suede elfin boots, with a stamp on the base saying “not for outdoor wear”. They didn’t last long, as of course I wore them out, but how I loved them. Then there was the camelhair car coat with a big collar that I wore turned up with sunglasses. Very Holly Golightly that made me feel.  For the rest, it was my father’s ex army jacket and his old college scarf, which was gold and black and therefore much cooler than my own. Make do and mend with long legs and youth on my side, to say nothing of  long chestnut hair worn straight with a flick. The world came and rolled like a cat at my feet!

So I wish Laverne all that and more. I wish her the joy of feeling safe and right in her skin. I wish her the ability to balance her studies and social life and so do justice to them both. I wish her a fine young man, with the potential for growth, to love her. I wish her continued joie de vivre , deep sleep and good friends. Most of all I wish her happy ghosts to keep her company when the time comes to start her own winding down.

Now I am gathering my ripe harvest. A handful of small tomatoes, a courgette or two, a bergamot flower. It’s a good job I don’t have to live on what I grow. The dozen apples would last a couple of weeks and what then? The beans are only just flowering and showing no sign of setting, but they are very pretty scrambling up their wigwams.  My true harvest is within. Rich with memories burnished anew, it keeps me warm and nourished. This could be the best age of all!

(delightful ghost credit to Lisa Blonder)


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