There are clear signs that autumn is all around, I spotted some this last weekend. It looks like being a ‘mast-year’, no, not last, a mast-year. A year when nature does her best to protect herself from the times to come. There’s an abundance of berries on the bushes and trees - conkers, acorns, crabs, rowan, holly, and blackberries, they seem to be everywhere I look. If folktales are to be believed, they all in volume predict the bitter badness of the winter to come.
Walking on the headland last Saturday I came across a hawthorn, bowed to the wind and laden with berries, bright red against the crisp blue sky. I’ve passed it before in other years, other lighter autumns, but I’ve never before seen it as full with bright red haws. So full of swollen life - a warning for all to begin to make ready for the cold season.
Standing, looking out across the sea, I heard a sound in the air and looking up saw a flock of swans overhead, the thrup, thrup, thrup of their beating wings high in the sky above my craned, sky-gazed, neck. Thrup, thrup, thrup, running from the cold of
And spiders everywhere. Seven in the cottage last weekend. The greater the number that crawl in from the cold and the larger the webs they spin, the colder the winter to come – and longer.
I’ll keep my eyes peeled back for ratty squirrels gathering, fortifying ready for a hard winter, preparation for the snow – the earlier the gather the harder the winter will be.
Longer and harder, colder and darker - winter's breath just out of sight around that autumn corner.
Some say a warm November and we’ll freeze in December. It’ll be a warm November for sure, weather or no weather. The berries, swans, squirrels, spiders, are all true signs of winter’s bite. She’s on her way in her long white coat, teeth sharpened ready - who can blame us for making ready?
The roundabout keeps turning. I’ll ride with it a while.