The leaves have changed now, losing their vigour as they alter in colour and contemplate detaching themselves from the tree – many having already fallen. This process is a vital survival strategy for these deciduous beings.
I gazed upon the rowan tree from my desk. The brilliant green foliage of summer had steadily vanished; a crop of beautiful red berries festooned the tree and I still dream of waxwings passing through the town and stripping the structure of these jewels before continuing on their way – what a sight that would be. The uppermost tree leaves turned a red russet colour more quickly than the rest, while a few still attempt to hold onto the summer feeling with their lime-tinged greenery. When the sun shines what is left of the green foliage fools you into believing it is a summer’s day, but recently the tides have turned and the darkening leaves fitted into the scene against the red sun, before Ophelia took many of them unwittingly into the sky, mixing them with the Sahara as they went.
The mornings are dark and some would say bleak, but the chilling weather sets a precedent of excitement to venture outside and explore the world while others are hiding indoors. When the beginning of days are still, they are a glory to behold as the mist clings to the trees around the farmers’ fields, not letting the emerging sunshine take centre stage.
The habits of wildlife are altering too. The garden is home to a group of noisy house sparrows, along with dunnocks that dash about on the floor, hoping to go about their day in safety. The charm of goldfinches visit regularly, chattering away with their friends as they enjoy the available food. The ‘shy’ nature of birds while moulting in summer has long since faded and they are their characteristic delightful selves once more.
The robin is my continual companion, singing in the morning despite the lessening light, and calling in the hedgerows when I pass by on a walk. The presence of insects however has diminished, yet I see the occasional bee taking the nectar it can from the flowers which are still existing in the disappearing floral world and the sparse flutter of a butterfly sometimes catches my eye – the creature stops suddenly in the sunshine to gain the available warmth from the remnants of summer heat that can still be felt despite the month. In autumn it seems still and empty of insect life, but it is the ivy flowers that hold the crowds as the flying creatures make the most of one of the last available nectar sources while they still can.