It’s starting to get dark earlier; 7:30, 7, 6:30 so that now it’s dark when I leave work, not just when I arrive. Sometimes I find cycling at night dull; there’s a flatness to the city, a literal lack of light and shade. But there are some good rides in the dark, when it’s not just the light which has receded, but life too. There are fewer cars and busses, more deserted corners and buildings empty despite having their lights blazing. Sometimes these moments of emptiness come in the strangest places: the Bloomsbury roads around the British Museum, or right outside Canon Street station in the city. If you come to these places late enough, you feel like you’ve come after humanity entirely.
From a cycling point of view, quietness means speed, and I log some fast rides home after working late, tearing home with the tyres lifting leaves in the air. One or two rides stand out in particular, when the traffic lights all line up and the smoothness of the tyres is matched by redone tarmac and the traffic is non existent, so I can really build up the momentum.
Two weeks ago: This is last week of the holidays (passing two schools on my way to work, I’m still attuned to the calendar). The kids will be getting their new uniform, the nylon stiff and the shirt folds still sharp. I am getting my old jumpers out; I feel the cold first in my finger tips as if the season is withdrawing into my body, as if heat comes from the heart. Reminds me of my favourite Greek myth: Persephone and the underworld.
Earlier this week: Cycling home, and as the sun drifts away, St. Paul’s is pink, like the last moons of Tatooine, inside, an orchestra playing, Luke Skywalker’s yearning. On the bike, time feels more present. You ride between the cracks in the hours, down the gap between late afternoon and evening, like a fold in a sheet of paper, a gunnel in which the dusk collects like dust. Feel the heat in the air, or a cold draft coming off the common.
Today, it felt like the first day of Autumn today; grey and blowy.
And the photo? The Swedish coast, a million months ago, well before summer even thought of ending.