From the vaults: Getting there (eventually)… (17/11/2010)

Getting there (eventually)

Words of wisdom are a scarce commodity; often wasted on the likes of me; so it’s comforting to know that, at least on the odd occasion, a penny drops. Jim Perrin often talks of our “own square mile” (‘ei filltir sgwar’ I think it is in Welsh, although I’m open to correction) and the rewards to be had from getting to know it more intimately. I thought I understood; I didn’t, and now I’m finally beginning to.

Writing about it, even in the erratic, scattergun, manner of this blog has helped; if only to the extent that I’m now more inclined to note things; jot them down before they slip irretrievably from my ill-disciplined mind. I’m seeing changes I would previously have overlooked; not just the usual seasonal shifts but year-on-year variations; this year’s spring compared with that of 2009, and – presently – this autumn contrasted with autumn of last year.

Where autumn last was benign and still, the leaf fall extended as varieties almost took turns to shed, this years was swift and decisive; colour change and defoliation accelerated by the effects of blustery wind, rain and an abrupt fall in temperatures. It has been as grim as last year was pleasant. But not everywhere, by all accounts …

I’ve been surprised by reports from elsewhere suggesting that this has been a protracted season of glorious and subtly changing colours, extending over many weeks and already being referred to as comparable with the very best. The kind of autumn in fact that we seemed to enjoy a year ago when others were less fortunate. While this year’s colours were unquestionably spectacular, the display locally was brief, the wind across the hills brutal and the transition into clinging, foggy, damp seemingly irrevocable. It looks like it’ll be boots, insulated gloves and hat down over the ears for a while now; but it’s the only way to learn.

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