I’ve had a never-ending love for Greenwich Park for as long as I can remember. It’s so ingrained in my childhood and who I am, but Greenwich Park at this time of the year is something entirely different. The trees take on a whole new colour palette, an array of warm tones; browns, oranges, yellows, and fading greens. Often causing shimmering shadows of sunlight on the pavement and every so often you hear a rustling noise and have to watch out as two or three conkers come falling at your feet.
Everything just changes there in autumn. The Pavilion cafe is lit by the lowering sun, the planetarium and observatory scream all things dark academia against the dried leaves, the squirrels are friendlier -often grabbing a monkey nut or two to bury for winter. The air is crisp and cool but the sun still warm enough to enjoy a stroll, maybe even some people-watching which of course, where better to do it than in a park?
I would always tease my mom about her people-watching and her ability to conjure up stories about passers-by but as I get older I’m noticing more and more how fixed into my DNA it is. As I sat taking a break on a bench there, I couldn’t help but watch all the walks of life there. Groups passing along in worlds of their own, usually with one or two four-legged folk in tow. The passing commuter, seemingly talking to himself –yes, I know he has AirPods in but I still find it so funny to see someone chattering away to themselves, or to what I like to think is an imaginary friend. The elder couple out for a stroll after lunch and the students rushing off to their next lecture. All the mums, the pram club, out in full swing; bonding over the shared struggles of motherhood. And the school classes passing through with noisy chatter, a sea of green and grey uniform littered with colourful lunch bags and a handful of grown ups apologetically smiling as they go past. Then me – the girl perched on a bench, in the knitted pumpkin beanie hat, desperately scribbling musings down with the fear of missing a moment, a memory.
If I could freeze time at Greenwich Park, it would always be frozen and stand perfectly still at autumn.