I am feeling inexplicably sad today.  

Perhaps it’s the change in the weather.   The heat is gone, that last rally of the sun before it tips into winter, the final burst of glorious heat before it becomes watery and thin.   

The smell of autumn is passing and there is a sniff of winter on the way.   I smelled wood smoke the other day.   It was coming from a small bonfire in the wood, someone clearing away broken branches of trees and leaf mould.   It was actually a glorious smell and a sad one.   Evocative of all those childhood winters when snow fell every year and we burned coal and logs on an open fire.    

I walked with Daisy yesterday and the leaves are falling now thick and fast and covering the woodland floor in a litter of brittle, curled leaves that crunched under my feet.      The elderberries are dying on the trees, shrivelling up, untouched, and the blackberries are large and watery.    They have lost that tart sharpness that comes with being new.     

I sat on the beech tree root and watched the meadow.    The swallows have gone now off to warmer climates.    The odd bee is still working and I spotted a butterfly labouring amongst the grass.     Everything is slowing now ready for the long sleep.

I cannot remember being this touched by the autumn for many, many years.   Working in an office for half a lifetime meant that, by and large, it all went on without me.    But I am in the midst of things here and all around me autumn is hovering on the cusp of winter.    

The birds in the garden are feeding themselves up for whatever coming cold snap there may be and fighting over the peanuts and the wild bird seed.    The usual gaggle of great tits and blue tits rush about the place as if there is no time left to be had, but I haven’t seen the nuthatches for a while.   

I spotted what I think might have been a coal tit the other day, a little buff colour bird with a white patch on its head, very much like its cousins in shape but not so garishly painted.   A restrained little bird.   It came and went very quickly and I haven’t seen it since.   Apparently birds of the tit family gather together at this time of year to search for food in mixed flocks.   I hope it comes back. 

The sky is a very washed-out blue as I write this, quite full of white cloud and there is a watery sun casting shadows from the big trees opposite and everything is moving outside my window in a tricky wind, rattling and swaying.     Leaves fill the air in golden drifts, spilling from the trees.   The chestnut tree is pouring leaves away.   It is as though the wind, trapped in its thick canopy, is tearing at it, desperate to escape and casting off leaves in every direction.  

The copper tree has lost lots of its paw-print purple leaves, they are lying discarded on the grass.   It looks as though, in the dark of the night, it has uprooted itself and danced madly around the garden leaving a trail of curling leaves in its wake.    I do love that tree and the idea of it indulging in a manic midnight tango lifts my spirits and makes me smile……

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