Watching

For the past few days there has been a young heron beside the road on the five mile drive to my son’s home. It stands, arrow thin, shadow blue and perfectly still, almost invisible, watching the drainage ditch that runs along the edge of the fields.

No-one appears to notice it as they drive by, focussed as they are, quite rightly, on the fast-moving traffic. I notice a lot of things as I drive. The road is familiar, yet changes daily. For the past few days also there has been a fox, now paper-thin with the passing of lorries, yet its coat is still that burnished copper and its tail, apparently undamaged, waves in a semblance of life as the traffic passes. Yesterday a tiny Muntjac deer hopped under the hedge as I drove out of the lane, right in the centre of the village. Today the kites were flying low, diving over the fields in the wake of the farmer, harried by crows.

solo 0311The trees are heavy with fruit, dark clusters of elder and blackberry, red haws and pale- bloomed sloes. Apples bend the branches over the skeletal seed heads of grasses and the pale stems of hogweed. Yet summer is far from over and the wildflowers are in bloom. A weasel skitters between the cars at the traffic lights.

flying solo 137I’ve watched the fields change from the bright yellows and emerald of spring to the soft green of summer and now the prelude to the gold and russet of autumn is beginning to creep in. Straw is baled, the stubble lies sharp and square in neat rows. The trees have that tinge of colour that precedes the turning, an almost subliminal feel of autumn is in the air, with the unseasonable chill of a rainy summer dawn.

You can feel it in the early morning dew, in the slight dampness of the steering wheel; see it in the light… something about the quality of it… and feel it under the stars. First frost is still far in the future, distant, but you can feel the hint of its approach. The mists have begun.

The year turns, days slide by and time moves forward, almost unnoticed, until you look back and realise how far you have come since the last time you took note. And all those days have slipped away with that quiet inexorability that we fail to see from moment to moment.

snow dog 090Yet there is a beauty to the rhythm of the year as it slides from high summer towards the dark time, holding within each fruit and flower the seed of a spring and summer to come. There is a richness to the dying time that lies hidden, quiet in summer’s heart. Even the changing seasons can be a beacon of more than hope; a confidence in the rightness of the dance of life.

We can look to the dark times and see only the chill, cold land, barren of life, of we can look deeper and see that inner life that waits for the first touch of warmth, ready to unfold and begin the cycle again. Yet where does it begin and end? Is the year born of light or of darkness? Or do both hold the seeds of growth within them?

promise of spring

30 thoughts on “Watching

  1. Beautifully written observations, Sue. Funnily enough, I pointed out to Stuart yesterday as we were driving that the Chestnuts are turning already. He has often said, and I agree, that whatever else has happened this year, we’ve watched every stage of the seasons turning and nature come into bloom and now beting to turn towards the darker months. We’ve noticed many deer crossing the roads, and the low flying kites – and barn owls – that are much less evident under normal circumstances. That in itself has been a privilege. And I guess that’s why they call it a circle of life, the cycle of the year. No discernable beginning or end, maybe because there isn’t an end. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every ending holds the seeds of a new beginning 🙂

      Sadly, the early turning of many of the horse chestnuts is due to a kind of leaf-miner moth larva that is causing havoc with these trees. Many are so badly infested that they will have to be felled.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh that’s terrible, Sue, poor things. I always thought it was just that Chestnuts were the first to turn. It’s tragic if they have to be felled though.

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  2. This is lovely, Sue. I’m sorry this summer seems to be going so quickly, though. I looked out the window last night about 10 pm and was surprised to find it was already dark.

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  3. All things considered,we are doing okay. I think blogging is a big help, too. We look at things because we take pictures. We write about what we see. It helps keep us focused and I think it keeps our minds from getting dull.

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