At some point during the past six-to-eight weeks, while I was busy not noticing things, autumn arrived. Last thing I remember, it was the end of summer and the heat was still oppressive but a handful of leaves had started to change colour and they felt like a promise, a promise of cooler, happier days. Then a pea-soup fog of sleep deprivation and sickness settled over my head and I stopped seeing anything beyond that which was needed for survival each day. At one point I didn't leave the house for an entire week. Meanwhile the season I love the most rolled in and on and through Melbourne, without me.
Today the fog lifted. Madeleine has been generous and given me three relatively good nights' sleep in a row, and all I have left of my virus is an irritating occasional cough. The difference is incredible. It's like the world is back and bigger and more beautiful than ever. Could it seriously have been here all along?
It turns out I missed watching most of the leaves turn orange and red; they skipped all the way to brown while I was in the fog. But they are still lovely. So, less than two weeks before the beginning of winter, I have at last managed to celebrate autumn.
After a two hour walk through the falling and fallen leaves, Madeleine and I stopped in at the Little Creatures Dining Hall on Brunswick Street for a big lunch and a rousing game of peek-a-boo with Madeleine's toy keys. I've been subsisting on Vegemite toast for the past month, and I can tell you I ate ALL of this meal (apart from the bits Madeleine stole, mostly fries).
How beautiful is the autumnal woodland they created inside the dining hall for Good Beer Week? Lunch felt like a cosy forest picnic. With heaters.