It’s a strange feeling walking round our park at the moment. As the leaves turn their fiery hues and begin to descend, I have such strong recollections of the me I was this time last year, walking around with a full womb, my glorious round self, full of anticipation.
Now I’m walking around shrunk back again physically, but so much more and so very different in almost every other sense. Now I’m walking through these noisy leaves seeing everything through the tiny eyes of my baby, who has never seen an autumn before, although autumn felt so much a part of her as she readied herself this time last year.
It was leaves and pinecones from this park, collected by my previous self, which adorned the fireplace next to which she was born. She is autumn to me. And she shares that symbolism of the end of one season and readying for a new.
We’ve seen a full cycle of seasons together in this park now. Our ever constant, constantly changing friend.
As the trees lay bare we took our first intrepid steps into the outside world; I glowed with achievement as I walked her round on my own for the first time.
She looked up from the flat of her back, wide eyed at the world she had awoken into, then slept. Our maiden walks gave me solitude, peace, and a chance to regain my strength.
In Spring she saw her first flowers, an explosion of colour that carpeted every corner. I lifted her out, and up, and close to the budding, blooming crocuses and daffodils, which mirrored the way she was blossoming more and more each day herself.
I felt myself flower as motherhood became me and I became mother, savoring the precious time that was just ours.
The warm, green lushness of summer opened up before us and our girl shone like the sun in the midst of it all; laughing, smiling, pointing, waving, singing. Discovering the others we share the park with, the dogs, the squirrels, the birds. She was warmth itself.
For me our park was a place of refuge from the choppy seas of returning to work, and the physical ache of being torn away from my girl. During balmy evenings in the park we were together again, discovering with wonder her first summer.
Now autumn is welcoming us back. My beloved autumn, my cherished reds, browns and yellows. I am so excited to show her it’s beauty from the outside.
Everything looks different to me now as I see it through her untouched lens, and as I see it through my own new gaze. My heart weighs a bit heavier, carrying the weight of hers with it, and the enormous, life changing pull of needing to protect her. My body feels more accomplished, like i’ve lived a hundred years in the past one: birthing, feeding, protecting my tiny, wondrous human, every cell full of her. My mind has discovered endless warrens which twist and turn and take my thoughts deeper and wider and higher and lower.
I’m so very grateful for our park. She has held us and sheltered us. Her trees have remained unmoved when everything else has been all a-swirl. She’ll still be here tomorrow and the next day. And as we begin the turn of the wheel again she’ll gently remind us that change is ok and that everything is only for a season.