The light had that tilted-from-the-sun amber glow of an early autumn afternoon. The winding English road was being swallowed by green in spots where it was certainly no wider than 1.9 sedans (or 1 lorry and 3/4 of a Puegot hatchback). Then something clicked.
This is our last English fall.
Trailers stacked impossibly high with hay bales and wagons spilling onions into the road bounce behind tractors. The pheasants are about to take their place in the harvest stubble. Soon the smell of overcooked beets from the British Sugar factory will saturate the air.
The leaves will turn and drop. The lush tunnels of the wooded roads from here to anywhere will turn gray.
My last English fall.
I’ve finally memorized the B and C roads that cut through fields to neighboring villages. I can distinguish the sounds of the freight and passenger trains that rumble nearby. And in less than a year, I’ll have to regain my bearings and learn the nuances of a new place.
At least I get it. I know that this is my last chance to make the most of here. I’ve finally bought a bag of Kentish cobnuts from the market. I left the boys with a sitter to drink wine in the sun at Wyken Vineyardssuff. I’m planning to take the boys to Sandringham to pick apples. We’re building our Must See list.
As much as I feel the end of our time in England approaching, I feel the force of Bertie rocketing through babyhood even more. There’s a finality to that, too. He’s not crawling yet – thank goodness! – but I know he will be soon. One day he won’t study my face and giggle while batting my nose as milk spills from the corners of his smile. He won’t always wave his arms and reach to me to be picked up. He’ll outgrow his 9 month footie pajamas (soon!). This might be the last baby I get to hold as my own.
And now, at last, Gretchen Rubin’s sentiment that “The days are long, but the years are short” is registering as a punch-in-the-guts truth. These unbroken 15 hour days (and the following broken nights) with the boys can be so, so hard, physically and emotionally, but I know that some distance of time will mark them as precious.