Sunday, 10 November 2013

Season of Mists*

It's an obvious title for this post but few have described the magic of autumn better than Keats.  I took you, dear reader, for a walk in the local meadows in early summer.  Now, let's put on our thick socks and boots, a jumper and an anorak and head over the fields beyond the golf course.  It's a lovely autumnal day, almost warm.  Usually, Sprocket, the dog, and I head out as the light is just starting to fade.  Not simply because we're a romantic pair but because Sprocket hates other dogs so we do our best to avoid them.  I went out earlier than usual this afternoon, when the light was still bright, because I wanted to take these photographs.  Even so, as we walked back, a chill was rising from the damp ground and the skin on my face began to tighten and burn with the cold.  The air was slightly misty and as always, it seems, on an autumn evening, there was the smell of wood smoke in the air.  It was Sunday but so much nicer if it had been Saturday and I was heading back to a beautiful, clean and tidy home where a stew bubbles gently in the oven, the smell of fresh bread fills the house, a rich, fruity red wine breaths in the background and a roaring log fire warms the sitting room where Strictly is about to start on the television.  This is how my life is in my dreams.  Of course, I arrived home to none of this.  The bread that I'd tried to make earlier has refused to rise.  S has had to go to work so the grate is grey with unswept ash.  There are leftovers for dinner and last night's open bottle of wine.  And it's the dance off tonight and work tomorrow.  Nothing is ever perfect.

If you look carefully, there are strings of cobwebs illuminated in the sun.  You had to be there.

A carpet of apples


These hedges must have been carefully laid at some point

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees

Red apples

Pink apples

Impressionist apples - but photographed whilst being dragged along at speed by impatient dog

Why does she keep ruddy well stopping???

Bee hives in the distance

Holly ready for Christmas

But a trace of summer still survives

Autumn Allotments

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours

*  To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
Or by a cider-press, with patient look, 
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-- 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; A
nd full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.