Since my last post about the woods in September, the summer has come back for its swan song.
The days have been warm and sunny, though the nights have been verging on frost, because of the clear skies. Frost has tinged the bracken and the heather up on the moor.
It is a precious time, these last days of summer before the rain and the dead leaves of autumn. The sky is a blue that is pure and high, bluer and higher than at any other time of year. The light is that warm glow that comes from a low sun. It is always a sunrise light, or a sunset light, with that hint of red that comes from an old sun.
Today there has been a single-engined aircraft droning around the horizon. It gives a sound to the sky, much more evocative of warm days than the irritating roar of commercial airliners. You never hear the sound of light aircraft in the winter.
A slow bee, lazily searching the balsam, has a similar drone. A jay breaks cover, and the robins’ territorial ticks and songs have become more urgent and slightly more aggressive as they jostle for territory that will see them over the winter.
The blackberries and the hazelnuts are ripe, and families are out with their wicker baskets and black-mouthed, scratched children, in an annual ritual that still links us to an ancient fear of the winter time. All now must be stored and lashed down. It is the time to make the most of it while it lasts.