I wake to a beautiful morning pink sky.   The wind is running through the threadbare trees in the lane and I can hear their dry leaves rattling.    

The chestnut and the ash trees are sadly spent now by comparison with their summer selves.   Further up the lane there is an ornamental acer in one of the village gardens which is the most glorious orange red.    It has tiny leaves which are bonsai perfect and almost all cling steadfastly still to the parent tree.  

I drink my morning cup of tea from the snug comfort of my bed and watch the pink clouds being bullied out of sight by the wind which continues to shake the trees.

The copper tree has been dancing again and the lawn is covered in faded purple leaves.    The lime green vine is still clinging patiently on, like a feather boa, as it makes its stealthy escape from our neighbour’s garden. 

Daisy and I, ready at last for our morning walk, enter the lane.  I have my camera with me today so Daisy knows that it will be a long and unexciting walk for her.     She is extremely patient and is used to me now and my cries of ‘Wait!’ whenever I spot something I want to photograph.

As my walk progresses it becomes clear to me that I have become obsessed with trees and texture, be it their leaves or bark, the patterns made by their foliage, their seeds or fruits, everything about them captivates me      I snap furiously away at anything that interests me.  

We walk past the sheep who are sleepily gathered under what seems to be their favourite tree.     Daisy pirouettes along on her back legs to get a better view of them.     I stop to take a photograph and she skips widdershins around me wrapping her long lead around my legs.   I too am forced to spin in the middle of the field to escape her web.  

The flame tree is completely bare now; it’s fine form visible to all.   I remember it when I first photographed it.   Covered then in the most vibrant leaves of yellow and red it looked as though it was burning, hence its name.     Now it must wait until the spring for new clothes. 

The Army seem to be very near this morning as the sound of the guns is painfully loud and every now and then the ground vibrates under my feet.  By contrast, the chestnut tree which so gleefully bombarded me with her conkers only a week or so ago is now resolutely out of shot, her seed pods spent it seems.   I am safe.  

More gently, the hornbeams are shedding seeds in the wind.   I stand and watch the seeds falling in loose, yellow spirals; top heavy they are spun out by the parent tree.  Carried aloft they travel a little way until they are deposited amongst the dense undergrowth to fend for themselves.    It is quite magical.

We make our way to the beech tree where I take my seat and we watch the cattle in the field.    Despite the wind tugging at the branches this is a very peaceful place. 

I am very fond of this particular tree and fascinated by the beech grove in general.     What I really like about the beech trees that surround me is the amount of snake-like surface root they have.  Thomas Hardy referred to them as ‘serpent-rooted’ beeches.    The paths are treacherously criss-crossed with these roots which lie ready to up-end the unwary! To me, though, it looks as if they might, at some darker hour, gently pull up their roots and quietly tip-toe away!

It doesn’t take long for Pav’s Tribe to notice we are about and they begin to move slowly towards us.   I am very pleased as there are new additions to the herd and I want to get a better view of them.      Pav’s progeny are both good looking and abundant.  

I snap away whilst Daisy, taking advantage of my lack of attention, decides to investigate nearby holes!   I manage to catch her in the act as she disappears under an old tree root!  

   

Having extracted her from one of the more cavernous holes, Daisy and I head home once more.     The sun still shines very weakly but the sky is greying and the clouds which promise rain are massing overhead…….

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