Friday, 8 August 2008

My week (4)

No haymaking in this changeable weather so plenty of time to work on the garden. Farmers are supposed to be poor gardeners, but this farmer is the exception. There is plenty of colour provided by Lucifer, Patricia and Doris - not people but Crocosmia, Herbaceous Geranium and Dianthus! The three make a startling explosive clash of colours.
Another highlight of the week has been the journey from Leyburn to Sedbergh (A684). This scenic road cuts straight through Wensleydale - fells to either side, small, stone villages, even the infant River Ure for a short way - goes over the spine of The Pennines and down the other side. Swaledale sheep are a hazard as they wander freely on some stretches but I make the journey regularly and know where to look out for them. It never fails to thrill. The little market town of Hawes marks the halfway point and is always bustling with activity Winter and Su mmer.
As I went over the highest point it struck me what a short Summer it is up there.

Autumn comes early in the hills.
There is a day - in August
when the season seems to stand still.

The last few flowerheads on the meadow-cranesbill
turn to spiky seeds.

Tall brown heads of dock
line the verges like policemen.

Meadowsweet loses it creamy summer smell
and turns brown.

The only flowers are purple thistles,
yellow ragwort and a few spires of rosebay willowherb.

The trees have lost their individuality
and turned the same dark, dying green.

On The Howgills, the clouds flirt with the tops.
And a faint mist marks out the beck's course.

That is when the swifts go
and the swallows sit one hundred on the wire
and counting.

When the purple heather shows on the moor
the season moves again.

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