And so Autumn is officially upon us. I suppose, living in the country, each season is much more clearly defined. The coming of
Spring for me is always that first showing of daffodils, the buds on the Horse Chestnut trees, that green smell in the air. Summer, perhaps the least possible to define, roses coming into bloom, young fledglings on the lawn, beaks open, being fed by their mothers.
Winter is always 'in your face' with Christmas, fairy lights, all the razzamatazz - but out in the countryside it is personified by the long nights and short days, the bare trees, the robin singing.
But Autumn, for advertising itself, always wins here in the countryside. Every tree is losing its leaves, slowly but surely. But - if we are lucky - some Autumns these trees put on a splendid display, a 'swan-song' if you like to tell us 'look, we are going but make no mistake about it, we will be back again next year.'
This Autumn promises to be a good one. Already the trees are beginning to turn and the berries are ripening - hawthorn, rose-hip, elderberry, rowan. Our rowan has not lasted long as the blackbirds have stripped away every single berry. Every crab apple tree in our field hedges - and there are many of them - is laden. The birds, mainly blue tits, are eating the apples on our orchard trees, but not a single crab apple is being touched. Later, as they begin to fall onto the grass, the cattle will happily eat them, impervious to the incredible sourness.
We need these clear season boundaries I think. They define our lives and they bring so many memories with them. "Do you remember that terrible Winter when we had thick enough ice for skating on the pond?"; "Can you remember that Spring when the daffodils lasted for ever?"; or "That glorious Summer when we swam every day for weeks and weeks."
Maybe our memories play tricks on us. I'm sure all Winters when I was a child were not icy and snowy. We couldn't sledge, skate, snowball and build snowmen year after year could we? It just seems like it.