“Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don’t feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn.” ~ Marilyn Monroe
It’s good to have traditions, those little things you do at certain times each year that make you feel the familiar nostalgia and comfort of childhood, even though you’re creeping through your 20s.
For me, visiting Stourhead each year is the first sign autumn has arrived, and seeing the shades of red and orange begin to chase the green of the trees is something that always makes me feel safe and content in the world.
I’ve been visiting Stourhead since my family have lived in Dorset, pushed around in my pram with my grandmother when I was a toddler, and even half-reluctantly scuffing my trainers around the dirt paths when I was a teenager. But now, as an adult, it’s become one of my most treasured walks, and I always associate it with coming home (even though I’ve been back at home for a year).
Stourhead was one of the first places I discovered my love of photography, and where I first started taking artist pictures of leaves on my old Sony Ericsson (we all had one, and they were pink).
There is nothing more satisfying than pretending I am Elizabeth Bennet as I run around the Temple Of Apollo, or staring at the statues in the grotto wondering how on earth they were ever built 200 years ago.
I’m grateful that places like this exist, and somehow when you’re walking around these grand National Trust parks you can bask in the feeling that tens of thousands of people have been here before throughout history, and so many more people will walk the same paths and see the same spectacular views for years to come.
I think we need to appreciate the simple pleasures of nature more, and learn to switch off and just enjoy the moment of being somewhere with so much history and natural beauty.
I’m grateful that I live somewhere with so many amazing spaces, and it’s definitely somewhere I’ll visit every year in the fall to see the leaves change.