Leaves slip from the trees, children slip back to school, and so one season slips into another.

There is change in all our lives, and sometimes it happens almost unannounced.  One day we wake up and find ourselves grown up, an employee, a spouse, a parent…………..

How did that happen?  We didn’t hear the countdown.  No one trained us for this new role.

We slip from the rivalries of school to the friendships of college, from the worries of adolescence to the responsibilities of student-hood, from the cramming of A Levels to the carefree fresher’s life.

We slip from the second-by-second watch of a new parent to the relief and concern of the nursery drop-off, from the joy of school to the worry of exams, from the laughter of sleepovers to the tears of broken friendships.

Even in later life, we slip into different things – and I’m not talking about elasticated trousers or comfortable shoes………….

Writing about retired racehorses in “At Grass,” Philip Larkin says

Almanacked, their names live; they

Have slipped their names, and stand at ease,                                                                        Or gallop for what must be joy,

The magnitude of the change is emphasised by the sentence’s being split between stanzas, and crystallised by the beautiful observation that what makes them gallop now is very different from their former motivation.

Leaves slip from trees, and for one particular amber leaf, it’s an exciting ride on the wind of change.

This award-winning inventor, prize-winning mathematician, dedicated crossfitter and parkrunner – oh and A* student – has the world before her.

If she will take one last leaf out of the old book, she will enjoy year one – grasp it academically, sportingly and socially as her brother (multi-award-winning hockey player and captain, brilliant mathematician and psychologist, owner of the family parkrun PB, the only BSU student with his own fan club, and all-round hunk) did – and slip the limitations of college, but not the love of learning, slip the limitations of local life, but not the love of friends, and slip the limitations of Alton, but not the love of home.

And any big slips?  Make them in the first year, not the fourth!

**********

Slip away – we won’t even know you’re gone!

On 27th October 2014, as you know, she ran round the field at the back of our new house, and started me on a new running life.  Change slipped over me like a lightweight outer shell – more running, less eating, more weights, less weight.

And this Sunday, the day after she goes off to university, God willing I will run the Farleigh Wallop 10km, my 300th race or parkrun since that watershed four years ago – and my first without her around.

I guess she can slip away.  I guess her work here is done.

Days slip through our fingers like autumn leaves slipping from the trees, like memories, like chances lost round a different corner.  With the world before her, I am reminded of how much we all can still do.  There is work to be done; there are people to be loved; there are books to be written; and yes, there are miles to be run.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,                                                                                    But I have promises to keep,                                                                                                    And miles to go before I sleep,                                                                                                  And miles to go before I sleep.

As she slips into her exciting future, I am left with a different world in which to shape, or slip into, my own.

And whilst we may be slipping through each other’s fingers geographically, we simultaneously hold each other’s hands, we hold each other’s hopes, and we hold each other’s hearts, with a grip, with a gaze, and with a guarantee that can never weaken, waver or withdraw.

Slip away, my love………………… and smash it!