This autumn the colours are magnificent, made all the more vivid and luminous by the exceptionally warm weather for the end of October. A brisk, but warm, wind from the south has chased away the clouds and polished the sky to an improbable blue. We felt we had to make the most of it and so, wearing shorts, we set off on a favourite walk around the area.
We followed paths between rough stone walls that were once the main thoroughfares when the district was much more densely populated, before the roads were constructed. On a day like this, the senses are heightened. The ochres, reds and golds of the trees stood out against the burnished sky and the berries made points of bright colour in the hedgerows.
The dry leaves crackled and turned to powder under our feet. Blackbirds rooting in the undergrowth clucked at our approach before they burst into flight, trilling their distress call. Cows called softly to their calves, while basking in the sunshine or grazing the still-green autumn grass.
Autumn has a distinctive smell, too: a blend of burnt caramel and mushroom. If only I could bottle that scent and keep it for the dark, winter days. We’re reminded of those by the fact that the clocks have gone back and dusk starts around 5.30 pm now. But it’s less than two months to the winter solstice, when it will start going back the other way, imperceptibly at first but with increasing rapidity from mid-January.
For the moment, we are between two seasons. The days are warm and spring-like – almost summery – while the evenings and nights are cooler with a hint of frost at times. So we walk in shorts during the day and enjoy the warmth from the wood burning stove in the evening.
And, as we so often do, we mused on how lucky we are to live amidst such beautiful surroundings.
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