Local Patch: jumpers at dawn, fairy street-lamps by the ditch.

13th August, and already it feels more like September. I am certain that the year, in the rush to escape the last grasping clutches of the summer’s heatwave, has over run and got a whole month ahead of where it should be. Not that I’m complaining however; this is my favourite time of the year, and an extra month of that glorious gold-lit transition is fine by me.

Every year there suddenly comes a day when you know summer is coming to a glorious finale. There is a sense of bittersweetness, a balance between fruitful glory and dying down, as even now this seasons bounty holds the seed of next years harvest.

Hips and haws of all kinds are ripening in the hedgerows, beside the school playing field, along the dog-walk path at the edge of the wood. Today I saw my first red Hawthorn berries of the year, whilst only a few metres away trails of Honeysuckle lounged through Yew and Hazel, clusters of spherical berries seductively shiny. Flaming torches; Wild Arum berry spikes punched up through the leaf litter, under bramble arch and along ditch edge, like fairy street-lamps.

There has been a fresh emergence of Holly Blue butterflies, and a few Comma linger, hoping the ivy will soon be in flower. In the last light of day a number of blurs around the purple blooms of the buddleia need to be slowed down to reveal their creator; nectaring Silver Y moths. by mid-morning each day we are shedding the jumper we pulled on for the journey to work, but we’ve started closing the allotment polytunnel door by half for the night.

On my lunch-break walks the woods are beginning to find their voices again. Robins have broken their summer vow of silence, and tits are gathering in mixed flocks, drawn to one another across species divides, by some unspecified agreement and shared understanding. I know when I’m walking beneath oaks without looking up, the scent of acorns is a familiar one; the jays, nuthatches and squirrels know it well also. Each tittering swoop of a southern-bound swallow over the village leaves me wondering if it will be the last of the year.


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