Photo by John Ellis
Waste no opportunities.
This is called following the light
This is called following the light
The last few days of September have been so cold and there have even been some overnight frosts. I was hoping to delay lighting the woodburner until October but alas - no such luck. Thankfully we had its chimney swept last week. Now I must accept that wearing several layers of clothes will be the norm with a fleece on top for good measure. Such is my life up in the hills! We are trying to avoid putting any radiators on yet as it is so expensive and I never want to see such a high leccy bill again as the one we had last winter - and we are not the only ones.
After a tasty breakfast of two boiled eggs and Marmite soldiers made with M’s gorgeous wholemeal bread I head out on my morning walk. It is a still and quiet morning; gone are the roars of the Sunday bikers who always blight my weekends especially if there is a fatality or serious accident as there so often is in this dear country. There was an accident on Saturday. Why do they, or more to the point why are they allowed to go so fast?
It is comfortably cool now after a morning which began with a hint of a frost and there is just the softest, lightest touch of rain when I take the dogs for their morning walk in the field. Finn is sometimes reluctant to cross the wooden bridge now; he has grown a little anxious in his old age and being arthritic of leg he may well be fearful of slipping and falling into the river, who can blame him for being dog-sensible? I sometimes take him the long way round on the lead but today I walk across the bridge with him and he seems happy to do so, perhaps he feels safer with me on the end of his lead. The sheep are as placid as ever and do not stir when they see us approaching, they are not frightened of the dogs and the dogs ignore them thoroughly as they have been very well-trained. All sheep are standing except one who lies still just watching - there is always an individualist, thank God - while the rest just casually survey our movements from a distance and only edge slowly out of our way if we come too far into the section of the field where they are grazing.
There are blessings to note, as ever. The sound of birdsong for one and the accompanying music of the river running. The sight of the river is beautiful too, it has a black sheen like treacle as it forms mini-waterfalls over the stones which flow downstream and give birth to baby rivulets. Kitty always goes down the bank to drink from the river and sometimes goes in for a paddle, not today though.
M is indoors painting the study walls pretty pink, I am finding the white walls cold and draining and for once the paint does not smell which is a blessing. Molly the cat is unimpressed though, the study is her ‘bedroom’ and being a proper nocturnal cat it is where she spends a good part of the day. The cottage interior seems dark lately but I must get used to this as the days shorten and winter draws ever nearer. There are still plenty of flowers in the garden to brighten it though - cosmos, roses, sedum, rudbeckia and other daisy type flowers. The buddleiae are in flower, better late than never. Butterflies are still plentiful too as are the wasps and the bees.
I am soon going to plant more bulbs and woodland plants mainly beneath my Sitka Spruce pine trees now that M has tidied up their low-hanging branches and I am keen to plant lots of cyclamen, more bluebells, daffodils etc. Already a mystery yellow flower has appeared and I have yet to name it.
A dear friend recently likened autumn to a terminal illness - death being winter I suppose and it is a fact that seasonal depression is such a serious sadness, indeed an illness for so many folk. But I feel that autumn breaks us in to Winter everso gently and there are so many blessings of the season in its wake - along with the beauty of the autumn colours there is less weeding and grass cutting! There used to be better TV programmes to look forward to but I have yet to discover them.
I am still getting over a cold, I can’t stop coughing and spluttering so am looking forward to cooching up with The Girl who Played with Fire, that one should definitely warm me up! I have just finished The Marriage Bed by Regina McBride because of the Great Blasket Island connection that was an enjoyable read. Our book group is reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks for October - I really loved her book March so am looking forward to that one. Also on the go is The Glass Room by Simon Mawer which is another great read - I had better get on with it…..
So many books, too little time.
Before I go here are just a few of my
Thoughts on Autumn
I have prayed for an Indian summer and I swear I caught just the occasional glimpse of her as she slowly crept across the mountain. Autumn still works hard at wooing but her temper flares, she can be kind but she can be wild and wanton, throwing in all directions the placement that was summer.
But there is such consolation in her colours. As they fall, as her leaves blow across the sun-brightened sky
their scents are all around, both underfoot and in the air carried on drifts of bonfire smoke or in a shower of rain. She can break us in gently for the harshness that will undoubtedly come, the coldness which we shall hopefully endure but her stay is all too brief, like Life She will not linger long. So take all her glory into your soul.
Autumn is dressed in a richness of red, gold and ochre. Loath to leave now, the leaves hang heavy but cling on as if life is so dear which it surely is. I will not hang or huddle, instead I wrap her around me for all too soon she will be gone as Winter creeps in even more stealthily to undermine her foundations.
Autumn is a promise asking little in return. As we part I look forward for Spring waits and is not too far behind, on Winter’s tail. But we should look for delight in the dark times too. Sleep awhile, a little more, just like the squirrel. There will be days when the sun can still be flirtatious in her moods.
Comforting us too, she lifts our spirits and we prepare again for rebirth amongst the season’s fadings.
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,