There’s something about August that always feels like the end of something. It is a languid month, long days and long weekends, long journeys to make long over-due visits. The end of summer holidays; the end of summer, for that matter. September hovers just over the horizon, signalling a time of change, the air snapping colder and the green of summer fading to orange and gold. September is a month of change and new beginnings, a cold shower after a long warm bath, and as August winds to a close I can feel myself struggling sleepily to surface with new focus and a new direction.
I have been finding inspiration from all directions lately. There are so many creative humans doing exciting things around this world, things that stray from the beaten path of consumerism, media manipulation and online narcissism. There are people taking beautiful photographs, writing stories, creating things, growing and cooking their own food, building their own homes. I want to find these people and ask them everything, to delve into these lives they have created; lives of simplicity and authenticity, of the outdoors, of intention. One of the things that travel does is to open our eyes to the lives of others, to the many ways that humans make their way through the world, and to allow us to take some of that experience away to live better ourselves. Acknowledging small moments. Valuing experiences rather than only things. Making, creating, doing; not just passively watching and commenting on the lives of others.
So, to small moments. To being present. On Saturday it was my friend Soph’s birthday, and I cooked moules frites. It was a balmy, humid kind of bank holiday afternoon, the sun white behind a sky full of threatening grey clouds that never quite broke. We sat outside until the sky darkened into night, and then we put on jumpers and fairy lights and curled up on the sofa. The mussels were briny and winey and garlicky and creamy. There were chips to dip in the salty liquor, and chunks of crush baguette. Afterwards there was a cheese board, local cheeses that Rikki found at a market earlier in the week. There were several bottles of prosecco to wash it all down, and at some point we made a rum punch full of ginger and lime and mint from the garden.
The following day we all piled into the car and drove into the Peak District, where we went walking along a ridge amidst swathes of purple heather, our hangovers blown away in the breeze. The landscape rolled into the distance, paintbox colours in every direction, and I wanted nothing more than to run into it. Sometimes happiness is so uncomplicated.