Re-imagining

On the autumn equinox we head for the sea.  Morning breaks on bold blue skies and whipped cream clouds.  Sea and sand sparkle under warm sunlight.   It isn’t quite low tide, but wide expanses of reef are exposed.  The promenade is full of people, who wander over the causeway to the lighthouse.

The beach is almost empty; the sea flat and far away.  The sandscape changes with each tide.  Today it is tossed with boulders swaddled in bladderwrack.  The sand is studded with lugworm casts and bird footprints.  That unmistakeable salt and sweet seaweed scent perfumes the air.  The sand martins that nest in the cliffs are gone, but there are flocks of birds out of reach on the reefs.  A curlew’s cry echoes.  Wind turbines turn slowly beyond the lighthouse and ships break the horizon.

Back on the headland, yellow grass is woven with bronze seed heads.  Yarrow and thistle are still in flower.  Sea buckthorn berries light up the borders.  We sit on the grass and eat ice cream.  There are always starlings here and a mob of them soon moves in.  At one point there are at least forty, hustling for treats.  Once they have decided there is no more, they swarm onto the grass, a sinuous horde, looking for earthier fayre.

The equinox ends with a sky full of storm light.  For two days rain falls and winds blow.  This is not a summer storm.  It is the arrival of autumn.  Outside the air seems charged.  Damp and rich and full of movement.  Though the leaves have barely begun to turn, the atmosphere is bronze.   On a day like this, anything can happen.  The fire hisses flames for the first time since early spring and the dog lies on his side in front of it.  The wind moans in the chimney.  The autumn equinox has passed.  Summer has fled but the season of magic has arrived.

In the aftermath, we walk to the dene.  For a while, our soundtrack is the hubbub of starlings.  I wonder if at dusk they join those at the island to murmur into darkness.  The sky is moody but dry.  A row of linden trees are beginning to curl and brown.  Small tree limbs blown off in the storms cover the ground.  The sports centre around the corner has become a test centre for Covid 19, a white marquee raised next to the skate park.

A gentle cheep greets our entrance to the dene.  Autumn is just flirting here.  Crisp bronze leaves lie in clusters; some of the trees are beginning to turn; but green is still the predominant colour.  Two wind turbine foundations on their way out to sea jut over the trees.  I watch through drooping willows as mallards circle the pond.  A pair of black-headed gulls have taken the high perches on the jetty, but one of them is ousted by another before long.  The moorhens cry occasionally, the gulls scream.

A clump of meadow cranesbill draws my eye to reeds starting to turn yellow.  Sprays of orange lilies and columns of yellow rattle mingle with sienna dock seeds.  Tiny fish dart away from my shadow in the burn.  The edges are full of berries.  Blackberries and rosehips, raspberries and haws, elder and snowberries.  A pair of crows feed on a discarded Yorkshire pudding.  Suddenly, a feather – grey and downy – falls from the sky, in a slow flight right in front of me.  I catch it before it reaches the ground.

On the way home, I notice the weeds between walls and pavement.  It has been the year of the weed.  Fewer grass cuttings and weed spraying has allowed some to appear that wouldn’t normally be seen and others to grow into monsters.

We may be facing another lockdown.  In this area of the country, Covid infections are rising again and there are new restrictions in force.  There is tension between those who think the restrictions are too harsh and those who think we aren’t doing enough.  We are still fighting for balance as we move into the most challenging part of the year.  But this is nothing new.  I watch a documentary that describes how the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century led to revolts and a re-imagining of the world.  That plague stayed for centuries, re-appearing every ten years or so to take its toll once more.  It feels, right now, like Covid is something that won’t disappear, but that we’ll have to come to terms with.

But for now, the seasons turn.  September moves into October and today, it seems, is arrival day.  Not long after dawn we walk to the park at the end of the street under an arrow of squawking geese.  If that wasn’t joy enough, there is soon more squawking in the air.  In the space of ten minutes, five separate skeins of geese fly directly overhead.  They are heading south.  I wonder where they will come in to land and what they will find there. I am thankful that I was here to witness their passing.

97 thoughts on “Re-imagining

  1. A beautiful write on the ending of on season and the beginning of another. You are right about Covid. It has been around since the 1960s so is nothing new. You can read about it online. So, yes, we will simply have to adjust and live with it as we have with so many other diseases that we continue to live with. In any case, I love when you pen your writing with photos. It brings to life even more the scenery I cannot physically share with you and takes me on a vivid journey. I love the ocean and miss it so. Thank you for sharing. Take good care.

    Like

  2. As always, I felt I was walking alongside you, your prose painting a detailed picture of the scenes.

    The transition from summer to autumn always involves a mix of emotions for me. Relief that the heat and dry (and wildfires) are waning, joy in seeing the fall colors, and a malaise tied to the song birds having migrated south and the shortened hours of daylight. I rely on the first snowfalls to perk me up.

    Like

  3. Are those our Canada Geese squawking overhead? They are great honkers: honk, honk!
    We are having a spike in Covid too. It could be a very long winter.
    Take good care, Andrea.
    Hugs from Canada (the safest kind).

    Like

  4. This is so beautifully written, Andrea, that I felt I was there with you to experience that subtle change as the one season moves into the next. This has been a refreshing read, thank you.

    Like

  5. What a gorgeous post Andrea, and pics too. I wish that so many others were so observant and appreciative of the world, the seasons’ turning, on our doorsteps. Maybe I’ll find my way up to your part of England one day.

    Like

  6. You are a magician with words as the tools of your trade. This was a marvelous way for me to begin my Saturday. Thank you for taking me along on your walks. Very much-appreciated, my friend.

    Like

  7. Wonderful stroll with you, Andrea.. Your photos tell even more of your story. About COVID I feel that it is so ever-present that I’m in the lull of a storm or the eye of a hurricane. I can’t imagine how this ends. But I have a sense of hope anyway.

    Like

  8. A beautiful piece, as always. Nature does not disappoint us as it moves from season to season as if ignoring the pandemic. I hate to hear that numbers are rising and people are divided on lock-down. We are divided here too even on mask wearing. Perhaps it is nothing new and we can learn from the 14th century.

    Like

  9. The season of magic has arrived. Boy, I sure hope so. Somebody magic this pandemic away, please. As always, and as others have said, your prose is so rich and descriptive I can picture the scene as you take us on this walk. Cynthia noted we in Ontario (specifically Toronto and Ottawa) are having another spike in cases just as we have to all stay inside due to the weather change. Hoping the government gets the flu shots distributed soon. Take care and stay well!

    Like

  10. You’ve captured the arrival of the magical season beautifully…there’s a hush out there as we traverse this fragile time…I have to remind myself that we returned home from our travels January 11th and have made it this far.
    I hope you’re gifted with more lovely autumn walks…

    Like

  11. Wild geese flying overhead. What joy indeed to see these mysterious travellers from the North – reminders that ‘the earth is still working’. Down here we have been seeing many birds heading off south, but no wild geese here yet. Bird migration is full of wonder!

    Like

  12. In your lyrical post, I’m there alongside you tasting and smelling the earth as autumn imbues it with a different set of flavors. What was the name of the Bubonic Plague documentary, please? I’m interested in learning more about the ways our world changed through experiencing it.

    Like

  13. I loved my walk with you Andrea, the seasons have flown all too swiftly this year, seeing the berries on the trees, I feel Winter may well hold storms ahead both within our weather patterns and within our relationship to covid..
    But nature works her magic through any catastrophe, and we see it time and time again, as the land recovers, so too will our species.. once we find the path of love and respect of each other once again.. These are indeed testing times for all, at the moment they appear to be dividing, but perhaps we all need just to find our inner road map to the route to self… Something many people have lost along the way within this material realm..
    A beautiful post Andrea… So loved your narrative and wonderful pictures ❤
    Much love your way ❤

    Like

  14. This post, and your writing is like an exhale ~ in a strange sense this was a magnificent summer in some respects. Your line “Summer has fled but the season of magic has arrived…” brings a smile to my face, as my favorite season of the year arrives. Your photos highlight the first “flirting of autumn” ~ terrific term by the way to describe the beginning ~ and as I look out my window now the changing colors simply relaxes me.

    Like

  15. This post and others i have just glimpsed at, have a wonderful wistfulness and hope it seems to me. I can lose myself in what you write dream in the photographs you have taken.

    I read your post on transition in 2016 where you said

    ‘Our world has both expanded and contracted this week. We shared home, food, lives and experiences with a visitor from America, reminding us that we are different but much the same. But our world has suddenly grown smaller. We’ve chosen to withdraw from Europe and become an island again. In this season of looking outwards, many of us have chosen to look the other way. This is a country enclosed by sea and sky. It would be easy to view it as a barrier and this island as a fortress. But when I stand at the sea’s edge, I see only an expanse of possibility. It’s what allows me to breathe.’

    I do think the UK will regain its soul and the sea to which it is inextricably bound. We are an island people and continental Europe does not understand that. There is a sense of freedom which we have, even if we never go abroad, because we can dream and the sea always changes her mood around these shores.

    So thank you for your post, hopefully i shall look at more of them when I can.

    Like

  16. A beautiful description of autumn’s arrival, Andrea. I like the term “storm light”. Those two words say so much.

    Covid-19 is now spiking in our town here, and infections still rising many places. I think we will experience some sort of lockdown again here soon. It has been a strange year on many fronts.

    Like

  17. There is a rise in case here in Nottinghamshire too, perhaps the winter season when we all try to hibernate will have an effect on the spread, but who knows. All we can do is appreciate the little details in life, as you do so well, and keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So beautiful, Andrea, in how you captured the entrance of Autumn. I love the changes and miss the ocean. Your writing is a breath of fresh air and freeing. Felt like I was there with you. Thank You for sharing.

    We are experiencing another spike of Covid-19 in our state of Colorado here in the U.S. It’s been in the news, no doubt, on how poorly our country has responded to this; yet, Colorado seemed to escape the huge # of cases and deaths the rest of the country has experienced. Though what we have had is too many in cases and deaths. Now, as schools have gone back and colleges resumed, sports and events have resumed but want to similar to what they are used to, and Colorado is back to where they started in March with warnings, cases on the rise. May come to another lockdown as everyone can’t get together on how to work through this.

    Hubby and I have just hunkered down up here in our mountains attempting our best to weather it all along with fires, hurricanes and political mess our state and the rest of the U.S. is going through. We are thankful through it all, though, and your post is just a reminder and expression of the gifts humans have been given and continue to be given in and out of every change of the seasons. Take care, my friend. God bless and be well and safe. Love and Hugs!

    Like

  19. Your area’s transition to fall is coming slowly as is ours here, and I love the images of your summer just beginning to change, particularly the willow and mallard and that profusion of dark and silver berries. You have a wonderful photographic gift.
    There seems to be no escaping the signs of COVID-19, whether it is rising or falling or here, now there. While I hope it does not have the staying power of the bubonic plague, I am always hoping it will be altered by more of us realizing that we have to deal with this together, not in opposition. Stay safe.

    Like

  20. Thanks for this lovely stroll, Andrea — and the photos. I loved seeing the lighthouse. I’ve only been to one in person, and only one time. It was so long ago that I can’t remember whether I was allowed to go up into the tower. But towers and lighthouses both touch a certain chord with me. They feel mystical. Hugs on the wing!

    Like

  21. I so enjoy reading your posts Andrea. I love your astute observations of the natural world. I am intrigued by the word ‘dene’. I have no idea what it is – some kind of geographic formation like a glade?

    Like

I love comments, please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.