September... always the one in a hurry



The beginnings of a bitter-sweet commission… a mistle thrush’s egg, heralding a brief but very welcome return to Spring. This year has been in such a hurry, at times almost tripping over itself in its keenness to reach Autumn.

Outside my studio the bracken has once again grown beyond its ability to support its elaborate flounce of green, and so, much of it now stands stooped like a gathering of arthritic peacocks, awaiting their inevitable demise.

Throughout the Summer months, the two male blackbirds were far too busy (and no doubt exhausted) raising brood. But they’re back now, like sentries guarding their indistinguishable curtilage of berried elder, hornbeam and hazel.

There’s a magpie rasping through his limited repertoire of swear words. But as a gentle counter a wood pigeon has begun a soft and mellow correspondence with another, further away among the jaw of pine teeth that edge the forest.

This little egg would’ve been laid anywhere between the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. An exciting time to be alive. As autumn races ahead all mistle thrush should be filling their stippled bellies with the bountiful supply of slugs and snails, the majority of which seem to have gathered in their multitude along the edges of my brassica bed, a silent army of slayers awaiting nightfall. And of course there’s now the chaotic cavort of barely airborne crane-flies to tempt any bird looking for an easy snack. The avian larder is brimming.

The transition between seasons can be breathtaking, pregnant as they are with the promise of such a treasure trove of colours. There’s also the undeniable comfort of continuity to appease the quiet creep of seasonal melancholy. Season follows season; Spring (then Summer) will be back.

But perhaps the most visually splendid and genuinely heartwarming tapestry is the one that unfurls as Summer passes the baton to Autumn.

If we could just slow them down a little.