The weather has turned colder, and the leaves are falling faster now, on pavements and streets, on lawns and pathways. They pile up, leaf on leaf, layering into carpets and swept by the wind into piles that are sometimes mysteriously neat and oddly placed. My neighbour has a perfectly arranged doormat of brown and golden leaves positioned precisely outside her back gate, the edges as cleanly defined as if a sweeper had cleared the pavement and carefully neatened and flattened the pile.

In the garage a peacock butterfly is hibernating, wings tightly folded, clinging motionless to the ceiling. In the garden the snails that I watched all summer and into the autumn have finally disappeared, and the hedgehog who trundled past every evening on his nightly expedition, appearing at almost exactly the same time like a regular commuter on his way to work, has also turned in for the winter. I have left piles of leaves and sticks wherever I can for the many small creatures that I know will be taking shelter over the coming months, and now whenever I go outside I pile on layers of clothing, some days more, some days less.

In our different ways, we are all preparing for winter.



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