My View, Mel Hewitt - Autumnal gloom? Leaf it out!

St John's Hospice Community Fundraiser Mel Hewitt
St John's Hospice Community Fundraiser Mel Hewitt

The end of the summer holidays is in sight.

The nights feel a little bit cooler and the sun is setting earlier. Hot chocolate doesn’t seem a laughable idea and no doubt the adverts for soup will start to reappear on the TV.

Lisa Websdale, from Doncaster, sent us this picture of Elmfield Park in the autumn.

Lisa Websdale, from Doncaster, sent us this picture of Elmfield Park in the autumn.

Is it me or does anyone else feel as though it’s only two minutes since we put the clocks forward?

As the seasons change there is always it seems - as in life - a process of gaining and losing.

The golden cornfields disappear, but the trees turn into a glowing cluster of colour from bright yellow to deep copper red. Or for those who aren’t so keen on gardening, the number of barbecues decreases but the grass doesn’t demand to be cut every weekend! In some respects it could be viewed as a cup half full or half empty.

Through the centuries poets have been inspired in very different ways to write about autumn. What is one writer’s season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is another’s dead leaf-strewn portent of doom and dreary things.

September Song, the oft recorded ballad – with Frank Sinatra’s version perhaps the most famous – speaks of it being a long long time from May to September, in the metaphorical sense of course.

The calendar year representing the life cycle is nothing new. Spring is the time of youth and then as we pass a certain age we are supposedly in the autumn of our lives.

Happily, our youth-obsessed culture has now redefined some of these milestones with 50 becoming the new 40 – or is that something I dreamt up when I passed my own half century?

If my own life ehas taught me one thing it is that there is – as another song says – a season for all things. Which isn’t to say that one time is better than another or indeed that we should conform to ‘accepted’ types of behaviour and ‘act our age’, whatever that means.

The most remarkable, happy and fulfilled people are not defined by their date of birth. Whether that’s someone who achieves something quite remarkable at an unexpectedly early age or the retired person who decides to study for the degree they always wanted.

People of all ages can be an inspiration, particularly those who realise that life is a continuous learning curve.

Discovering this is I think one of the secrets of life. The complete human being is I feel the person who realises the job of growing is never quite done.

The surest way to get a life-long education in life is to meet people.

Many of these people, both colleagues and those who I come into contact with as community fundraiser, are quite extraordinary and exceptional.

They are a big part of the reason why, although autumn may herald some of the less palatable aspects of the English weather, every day really is a gift.