It’s a relief when autumn comes, the heat, the haze, the midges resolving into clear uncrowded air. The lurid green profusion mutes itself and gives way, the bracken curling and bedding down in rich rusty banks, the rowan and aspen crisping up and turning gold. The mountains solidify, meeting the loch in deep blue glimpses, as the gaps begin appearing again: pathways, sightlines, ways into the world.
It’s a relief when autumn comes, the mornings becoming keen and cone-sharp and the evenings becoming “airish”, a word I first heard yesterday from a friend. He used it to describe the coolness in the dusk now, the encroaching winter chill, but it makes me think also of “airy”, the way you’d describe a narrow mountain ridge, vista and distance radiating out in all directions, and this is the truth now too.
It’s a relief when autumn comes, the world unpicking and uncovering itself, and the sun coming closer. Its fine rays filter through the emptying branches and rake through the leaf litter, sifting our thoughts as they loosen and fall and settle into dry rustling drifts. We could sweep them up or we could walk through them, enjoying their crackling quiet fire while the sun holds us, body to body, in its steadfast pale embrace.
Lochinver, Assynt, Scotland / Cwm Garw, Glamorgan, South Wales
18th September 2022
My aunt’s garden, Perth, Scotland
6th September 2021
The northerlies are tenacious this year, persisting not only throughout April but well into May. It’s hard to believe we’re only five weeks off the solstice when I’m still making fires every evening. The flowers seem to be feeling it too: the lesser celandines and violets which I remember starring the woodland floor as I took my daily walks last April have only recently begun to raise their heads. It feels as if the passage of time has stalled, that the seasons are on pause or running in slow motion. I initially assume this sensation is due to the weather but then I start to wonder how much it’s to do with the prevailing social climate too. I read in the papers online about “brain fog” – the mental listlessness and confusion that many are apparently suffering due to the monotony of life under lockdown – and it seems that the suppression of our natural life is taking its toll as well.
Things are “easing” now socially at least but it’s all so different to last spring. I remember driving to Lochinver ahead of the first lockdown thinking how incongruous it was that just as the natural world was coming into bloom – with sunshine and daffodils fairly bounding along the glens – the human world was closing down. This spring it’s the other way round: we humans are tentatively opening up but winter is stubbornly hanging on – cold, fixed, relentless.
Rosehall trails, Sutherland, Scotland
13th May 2021
Cwm Garw, Glamorgan, South Wales
15th December 2020
beneath the feathered yellow haze of the larch
and the tiny gold coins of the birch leaves
the last green fires alight
Culag Wood, Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland
26th September 2020
Bog asphodel, Arkle, looking over to Ben Stack, Sutherland, Scotland
16th September 2020
Àird Ghlas, Lochinver harbour, Assynt, Scotland
8th November 2019
Green temples, red altars.
Places to offer yourself,
places to belong.
Bryngarw Country Park, Glamorgan, South Wales
23rd October 2019
Cwm Garw, Glamorgan, South Wales
16th November 2018
a leaf fall,
on the air
Corbenic Poetry Path, Trochry, Perthshire, Scotland
17th June 2018