Baked

The last weeks of August sizzle.  Furnace days that pass like treacle.  Hottest days on record, air so close it’s hard to breathe.  Air so hot it’s impossible to get relief.  Sleepless nights.  Sticky, long days of hard brilliance.  August is stuck in amber: it seems it will never end.

But finally the amber cracks.  On the morning of the storm the world is damp with dew and the sun is a blazing orange balloon.  We know the storm is coming, but it isn’t until the hour before midnight that it appears.  Two booms of thunder and a neon flash herald its arrival.  The next crash envelops the house, as though giving birth to it.  Lightning flares every few seconds.  Thunder grumbles.  Rain hammers down.

In the morning the landscape is scoured clean.  Green is greener, more vivid after rain.  There is energy in the air.  In the deluge, autumn’s blooms have blossomed: a bouquet of fungi along the paths.  It has been a good summer for fungi, despite the heat.  There has been a bountiful harvest of field mushrooms in the park and a scattering of fairy rings.

A day after the storm, it is cool enough to walk the wagonway.  The hedgerows bulge with fruits.   Birds nests of wild carrot, fat with lilac seeds.   Horse chestnuts ripe with conkers, still encased in green.  Bushes full of blackberries.  The wind teases willowherb seeds from their stalks so that I walk through drifts of down.  I hear the steam train chug and whistle down the nearby museum track.

The flowers are few now: a clump of willowherbs here, ragworts there, clusters of fleabane and sow thistles.  Insects jostle for space on those blooms that remain: hoverflies, bees and flies, speckled wood butterflies.  Dragonflies dart across the path moving between ponds and patches of damp ground.   There is still little evidence of birds: a couple of wood pigeons, the song of a robin and the twittering of a few hidden blue tits.

In the dene, it already seems like autumn.  The avenue of lindens has released a drift of tawny flower casings that look like heaps of autumn leaves.  August is finally over and the scent of a new season is in the air.

I was introduced to the wonderful book Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion some time ago and I was thrilled to see he was crowdfunding to publish his next novel Draca through Unbound.  The book is about a former Royal Marine haunted by his past and possibly by the old boat left to him by his grandfather.  Half of the profits will go to the veteran’s charity Combat Stress.  Geoff has been offered a great opportunity to promote the book at a festival alongside a ‘household TV name’ if it is published in time.  Pledges are currently at 89% but he only has two weeks to reach 100% if he is to get the opportunity.  That’s only 60 books, so please consider pledging to enjoy what I expect will be a great read and to help out combat veterans too!  You can find out more here.

85 thoughts on “Baked

  1. I love the lyricism and beauty of this posting. It reads more like poetry than prose. The book review and info about the author is also fascinating. Hope you have a fantastic fall. We are in meteorological fall as of yesterday, not that that means anything except to the weather prognosticators.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Andrea, you have such a gift. I felt the thunder, and almost expected to have spots in front of my eyes from the lightning. I loved seeing the photos of all the plants and mushrooms too.
    There has been more rain than I expected since my move to the high desert. Climate change… But of course it is welcome.
    Thank you for another beautiful post. Best wishes to Geoffrey and this most worthy cause — and on his new book.
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Seems you had a more dramatic August than us. And there’s scarce a sight of fungi along my walks. But wild carrot, yea, along Breydon’s edge. I love that plant, so sculptural. And you picture it so well.
    So what will autumn bring? So far, we have shrubs heavy with berries.

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  4. Andrea, you are writing this post so beautifully in poetic prose. At first I thought you were writing a poem.
    Your walk through the landscape so near, so real, I am there.
    Every word and picture counts, are alive.

    As we have had the same climate here in the South I know how heavy it
    has felt and how lifegiving the rain and thunder was.

    Miriam

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  5. I don’t think I could find a more on point description of that kind of relentless heat. Although we had a week of horrendous heat here in July (96˚ the high) vs. August, I sure know that feeling. And there is nothing like a storm or cooling rain to usher it out. Fall is so welcome.
    What kind of bee is that on the yellow flowers? They’re too pudgy for yellow jackets or wasps (I think.). Thanks as always, for a walk through nature.

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  6. Always a delightful read, Andrea. I, for one, am not sad to see August go. Cooler weather and colourful leaves are within reach and I am very happy for it.
    Have a lovely day! Oh way… itès already evening where you are!

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  7. It’s always such a sweet relief after a storm after it’s been so hot out. Beautiful pictures and musings/observations from your walk, and lovely writing, as always, Andrea.

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  8. I am always moved by your prose poetry. I hear the thunder, I see the greening after the rain. It resonates as you describe what we have just experienced here – scorching days and now relief as fall beckons. We are used to it. Yet I still experience a bit of culture shock in the dogs days of summer and during the arctic days of winter. Imagine going from minus 40 degrees Celsius to plus 40 degrees Celsius all in one brief year. Oh, the wonder of it!

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  9. Beautiful writing as ever, Andrea. You also manage to get such lovely photographs of your surroundings and the plants you see. We have the cooler weather but have had no rain so far and we desperately need it.

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  10. Ah, the relief of the storm! I think September is my favourite month. Things start to arrive in September I find – like ideas. I went for walk in my local park and during the night the beginnings of a circus had appeared and the marking out of where the big top would be. Perfect metaphor for September!

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  11. We have had a spectacular summer haven’t we Andrea.. Hot, humid some days, and yes those Lightning flashes, like I have never seen before.. Changes in the air,..
    Loved your narrative throughout your pictorial delights of natures hedgerows of flora and fauna,
    Nothing more cleansing that a storm, or walking in the freshness it leaves in its wake..

    Beautiful Andrea.. thank you for sharing.. ❤

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  12. August has been so cool here, thanks to the rains. But the heat you describe is what we get in October – relentless. Love the description of the blooms after the showers and the pictures that go with it.

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  13. I’m enjoying the transition from summer to autumn here, but with it comes a crazy-busy schedule and I am having a hard time keeping up! The book Draca sounds really good, and I love that it is for a good cause. Have a beautiful day!

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