The trees around my park are turning into necklaces of topaz, garnet, amber and gold. I go there every day to walk Tottie on the ten acres of heath and woodland that is my urban countryside. I love to watch the sky changing minute by minute and to see my favourite spindle hawthorn go through its dance of the seasons, every movement in a different shade. It is magic (although David Attenborough might shake his head and say,’No, it’s nature”). Sometimes there is such an intense feeling of connection between what is natural out there and what is natural in here, that only the word ‘magic’ can do it justice. Today I have time, and a sense of its limitations, to stop and observe the wonder of it all.
Romance has slowly and quietly entered my life and takes place in universal time on benches dotted round my park. Over the last nine months or so I have been engaging in a meeting of minds so deep and subtle that I haven’t even noticed what has been happening. The man in question is handsome, kind and complex. He asks me questions that I try to answer from deep in my authentic self. I do the same with him and while our dogs roll and jump and run around together, we sit on one bench or another and go deep. We never communicate outside the park, although we exchanged telephone numbers a long time ago. Although we never speak of it, we both seem to understand that what goes on between us is organic. We meet by chance and sit together awhile and that’s all there is to it. We exchange intimacies naturally that would seem untoward if we were on ‘a date’. I never question when the next time we meet might be. We enjoy talking and when one of us gets up to leave, there is always a lot more to be said hanging in the air between us. Whatever is going on is outside real time. This is why I call it a romance.
The dictionary tells me that a romance is an extravagant, wild, original thing, with an infusion of fiction. This description fits our benchtime beautifully, though the wildness is all in my head. It feels to me that an adventure is brewing ever so slowly. Neither asks anything of the other but slowly a friendship is building up. We even talk in some detail about sex.
Actually it occurs to me that over the last year, this man and I have spent more time talking than some married couples do in that length of time. It is a special gift in my life, this natural intimacy with what was and is no longer a stranger. The pleasures of ageing are many, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Now is the time to take time and gaze at the changing moods of nature or the wonder of communication between a man and a woman, with no agenda other than the pleasure of sharing thoughts on the Autumn of our lives, while the leaves twist and fall gently all around us.