Autumn; the uncertain season

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On Thursday, we were in Talassemtane, and it was a Goldilocks day – the weather and the mountains seemed to want us there. In sunny patches between conifers, and some trees turning gold, it was warm enough to sit for a time, motionless but for trickling dry earth through curious fingers. In the shade, the air licked at us coldly, a portent of winter snapping at autumn’s heels. Higher up the track, the clouds fought with the blue around the peaks, chasing our view away as we stood, and revealing it again before we could move.

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On Saturday, we were in Bouhachem, and the sky was blankly grey, sitting wearily on the mountains and turning them dark and blue. On the ground, leaves whispered beneath our feet as we crept through them, and ferns turning from green to orange bowed slightly, tired now that October had come. Bouhanou – eye catching, enticing – hung green, gold, and red on thin branches; some, already tasted, showed soft yellow flesh, and others fell easily into our hands. Their skin, urchin-like, crunched with seeds, and their taste, a strawberry muted by mountain air, ran gently across my tongue. Later, the wind swept the clouds down over the forest until they pressed into us, and the rain began. It fell briefly, bouncing from trees and bending fragile grasses, and disturbing dusty ground that had got away with being dry for too long. The birds kept singing, unperturbed, and when the rain stopped, we could hear them again, piercing the cold, white air.

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Today, in Martil, the storm threatened all day, draining us as it clung humidly to the town, and suggesting only sleep. Early in the evening, before the dark gathered humming around the street lamps, the thunder finally shouted its arrival, filling the spaces between buildings with its noise. Leaning out from the second floor as cold drops found my neck, I watched the rain and the people running through it, clothes sticking darkly to their skin. The cliffs in the distance had disappeared; the storm shrinking the coastline until it seemed the world stopped just beyond us. The palm trees along the sea front looked small; ashamed to be seen like this, perhaps.

After dark, the wind and the waves still carry through the walls as they dance outside, beckoning tomorrow’s beautiful, ugly, uncertain autumn weather.

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