There is a day each year it seems, when I am struck by the fact that time is standing still for a short break before going on to the next season. Two years ago this day was when I was driving through Wensleydale on my way to meet my god-daughter in Sedbergh for lunch, and I stopped in a lay-by on the way to write down my thoughts on this.
This morning the farmer is 'rowing-up' ready for the silage baler and wrapper to come after lunch. In the meantime Tess and I had a gentle stroll round the fields, newly cut and smelling sweet. And it struck me forcibly that today is that day for me.
There is hazy, warm sunlight and the air is still - it is as though everything has stopped for a moment. So - I looked out the poem I wrote two years ago, altered it here and there - and I make no excuses for printing it again here today, because for me it is as true now as it was then.
There is a day.
There is a day
when the season seems to stand still.
The last few flowers on the meadow cranesbill
turn to spiky seeds.
The tall, brown heads of the dock
line the verges like policemen.
The meadow sweet has lost its creamy smell
and turned to brown.
And the only flowers left are purple thistles,
yellow ragwort and a few spires of rosebay willow-herb.
The trees have lost their individuality
and turned the same dark, dying green.
On the distant hills the clouds flirt with the tops
and a faint mist marks the beck's course.
The swifts have gone and the swallows
are one hundred on the line and counting.
When the purple heather shows on the moor,
then the season moves on.