The bright light of Autumn

The light is so bright coming down the lane that it blinds. The low sun forces itself through the trees where leaves are now falling so thick and fast that Rosie the dog is quite disconcerted by them.

Although not raining there is a moistness, a leaf litter scent, grass and leaf fall, and fungi making a natural compost. Dark browns and golds and also vibrant red and orange leaf stalks among the mossy ground with broken rose hips spewing out their seeds. 

There is a lot of ivy on the lane: over walls, up walls, around trees and hedging andI it is now in full flower with some flowers beginning the transformation into berries. The flowers are attracting a lot of interest from insects. I had never realised or perhaps had an interest in knowing, that the difference in the shape of ivy leaves related to their age. Now I can see it clearly. The mature ivy has oval or heart shaped leaves while the immature ivy has three lobed leaves. Both are a beautiful glossy green but only the mature plants will bear the flowers.

Down in the poo!

One of the things about walking the lane the awareness that humans are not the only inhabitants of the area. So, I usually keep an eye open for any unusual poo. Today there were deer droppings. I saw a deer on the path back in March but haven’t seen one since. Further up the lane there was what looked liked pine marten poo. I keep hoping to meet one. I know they do visit the area and are very accomplished bin thieves. The only time I was up close and personal to one was when we were camping. I heard a noise in the middle of the night, a munching sound, opened the screen to see a furry body passing by my head. A pine marten eating our dog’s food.

The heat has returned and the scent of elder flower, honeysuckle and meadowsweet is swirling around on the air. Butterflies weave across each other’s paths in the sunlight but they never alight on anything long enough for me to try to identify their colourful wings.

It amazes me how resilient the Herb Robert flowers are. Their small pink shapes stand out among the green and yellows of the dry grass. They also make beautiful colour combinations with the blackberry flowers. The blackberries/brambles flowers are beginning to develop into berry form already and it looks as though there will be a good harvest. I found the first hazelnut today, just in its early stages. I wonder how many will have nuts in the shells or will be empty


Trying not to fly too close to the sun

Walking up the lane – which is walking up the hill, feels like a Herculean task in the heat. Reaching the top there is a a gentle breeze, a friendly welcome in the green.

As I walk, birds flutter out of trees and bushes. Their flight paths very low. Almost as though they think they may burn their wings in this red hot sun. Perhaps there is a folk memory among birds of the myth of the wren burning its feathers as it brought fire back from the gods.

The sheep in the woods at the top of the hill are trying to keep cool and baaaa their comments to any passer by. I think of dogs in hot cars and wonder what it is like to be a sheep even if not wearing a full winter coat.

The moss on the lane that leads one up the centre of the lane is no longer green and moist but dry as tinder and crackles underfoot. One poor thistle has bent right over in the heat!

Short while ago there were reeds and rushes in the fields. Now they’ve been cut and are dry and baking in the  heat. The stream has a deeper, hollow voice as it flows over the ancient stone steps that help the stream on its way down the hill.

There are still small things to observe in the green – a speckled wood butterfly resting on a sunny leaf and what I think is a shield bug, probably a hawthorn shield bug  – on a hawthorn. The wood avens is now all burr and no flower and the woundwort flowers are showing off the detail of their individual flowers.

Days of hot summer

After being away from the lane for a few days  the changes brought about by the heat are apparent. The hart’s tongue ferns are splayed open except for those very close to the mill stream and even the mill stream is only trickling down its route. The bracket fungus  has almost disappeared too.

The lane is wooded and slightly cooler in the hot sun than the open countryside surrounding it and the wild strawberries are fruiting. The meadowsweet is now also flowering in all its creamy beauty. The birds are flying low down the lane in groups – whether that’s seeking water from streams or what I don’t know, but it’s quite strange to see.

Blue skies ahead?

From early this morning there has been blue sky and it is beginning to warm up – at last! When it is cooler it is as though the lane is sleeping. Everything is green but it as though it is waiting for the warmth. Plants like the meadowsweet, which are flowering on the top road above the lane are only still in udon the lane.

The sloes are developing on the blackthorn – green at the moment. It will be some time before they change colour.

Figwort is now flowering. It can be easily missed in the hedgerow but it has historically been used in herbal medicine. Its flowers are really amazing to look at because of their complexity.

The sheep grazing in the field seem to be enjoying the open and wooded area that borders the lane nearer the top.