Late summer Happy Birthday

I was struck today at how subtle this time of year is. Spring arrives with huge changes, plants spring back into growth and flowers emerge. Insects start to emerge from hibernation and the sun finally warms the back of one’s neck. This time of year the signs are less obvious and only noticed by those who observe.

A couple of days ago I saw four swifts circling and screaming in the evening sunshine the first ones I had seen for two weeks. When we crossed the channel at the beginning of the month groups of swallows were also crossing alongside the ferry. Untroubled by the political turmoil surrounding immigration.  This is the one of the first markers of impending autumn. The swallows are massing, chattering on the wires. Terns and non breeding migrants start to return south in dribs and drabs. In woodlands the songs of territory and breeding are gone replaced by contact calls and mixed flocks of warblers and finches. In the garden late emerging butterflies gather on the buddleia. Whilst bees frantically search for nectar and pollen.

The mornings are cooler now as dusk falls before eight pm. Showers and fluffy clouds chase each other across the sky. As I walk, the fields are stubble, sometimes a cloud of dust and chaff indicates a combine harvester clearing a late field of wheat. Most of the summer flowers are over and most wild plants are seeding.  The brambles are laden with blackberries and here and there small groups of people gather them a late summer ritual.  I walked long the Nutbrook trail yesterday and filled an ice cream container.

In my greenhouse, spiders weave thousands of webs across anywhere they can access.

In the evening clouds of gnats fly mournfully as cool breezes stir the willows by the river whilst terns call overhead.

And you one of my dearest friends- In this liminal time of subtle change and metamorphoses you were born.

How apt that you came into the world with the gentlest time of change, when everything was bearing fruit and ripening. The descriptors of the season so completely match your personality.

After a certain age one does not need more stuff, one’s house being stuffed with possessions. Nor does one relish sweet things as much, conscious of the inches on the waist, but this note marking your anniversary I thought you would enjoy.

Happy Birthday


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