I want to talk a little about autumn, but I'm afraid you're going to have to put up with some rubbish mobile phone pictures to go along with my wonderings. I really need to get around to reading my phone's camera instructions. Or nagging my husband to bring his camera everywhere we go.
The trees above are just a month apart, but look at the difference. I've read elsewhere on the web that the autumn colours are disappointing this year, but those thoughts are coming from bloggers in the south of the UK. Up here in the north, things are glorious. There seems to be much more yellow than usual, in beautiful oil-paint vibrancy. Autumn has been slow, too, with a hesitancy to move through to full-on winter and not enough storms to blow all the leaves away. The lingering is much appreciated. I'm looking up everywhere I go. I'm enjoying it with feet in crisp cornflake-like leaf fall, and eyes in the deep yellow hues of a revelling autumn. My nose always accepts an invite too, for there is that beautiful mulchy decay in the crisp air, and wafts of wood fire waiting to surprise you as you go.
It's such an amazing time of year for walking. Oh you just have to get out in the woods, accept the mud that cakes your walking boots and buggy wheels, and take scarves and gloves that will be peeled off in the autumn sunshine. It's not just the leaves that delight, but there have been fungi treats everywhere. I can't help but look out for them. On trees, in grasses, wherever the damp and decaying can be found. Every time I wish I'd brought a mushroom book with me. My favourites are the bubbling mountains of frogspawn-like blush fungi like in the photo above, right. Or the giant crescents that grow out from trees above your head, like a shelter from a storm.
We enjoyed the berry season so much, mostly on the hoof as it's pretty hard to get a small child to pop a jewel of candy-like blackberry delight into a box to take home rather than their mouth. Now I'm seeing the shrivelled, dried-out remains of the blackberries that were ignored or forgotten, and will give themselves back to nature. The undergrowth is thinning and the evergreens, hardly noticed the rest of the year, are starting to show off again. The robins seem so much more profuse, although they were here all summer long, and I choose to conveniently forget that they are not the sweet, timid little creatures we like to think they are. Autumn is, after all, as much a fantasy of our concoction as a reality of decay and Darwinian dances.
Every year in spring I think, "no, I was wrong about autumn and this definitely is the best season". Come every autumn, my allegiance changes again and I crown it king. I like these two changing seasons the most, when the world wakes up and then goes to sleep again.
The pine cones, acorns, spinning jennies and conkers are the jewels I'm coveting now. I want a cape of crisp autumn leaves, mustard-coloured like so much of the tree decor this year. I want a crown of mushrooms with a robin on top. Well, I accept I'd look just a tad ridiculous. I shall just have to put on my outdoor gear and go kick leaves.