Friday, October 12, 2012
It’s autumn. It has been for a few weeks. And even though my inner Californian will deny the change in season for at least another month, there are unmistakable signs all around London. Take Hyde Park, for example. I was walking there last weekend, and I saw it everywhere.
In Kensington Palace Gardens, I noticed that the construction works that have been going on around the grounds have finally come to their conclusion. Everywhere I walked, topiary trees lined pretty paths and raised covered walkways gave way to secret ponds.
The summer flowers were gone, though, and the people sitting outside at the Orangery cafe were enjoying what was surely one of the last warm days before the cold set in.
Back out on the path, the first signs of fall were revealing themselves on the tops of the trees. The green summer leaves were waving good-bye while their yellow, orange, and red counterparts busied themselves painting their neighbors.
Down another path lay the Round Pond, replete with creatures ranging from geese to stately swans.
On the edge, a new family of fowl grazed in the grass, the little ones protected by their parents’ watchful eyes.
Over in the park’s other famous body of water, the Serpentine, the courageous rowed and paddled the last boats of summer from shore to shore.
The less brave remained on land, sticking to the water of the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
I myself preferred to keep walking lest the cold catch me. Back through the park I went, past the Serpentine Gallery with Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s summer pavilion, which was enjoying the last strong rays of sun.
Past the Albert Memorial, its gilded ornateness glinting in the light.
Past the bridges. Past the palace. And back home, to wait for winter.
But there will hopefully be a few fall days left when I can walk in Hyde Park in the sunshine. There had better be, or this Californian might just have to follow the fowl and travel south for the season.