… Mists and Unmoving Air.
Season of a Waterproof Coat that it’s really too warm for, but too damp outdoors to do without. And of Washing for two days getting wetter on the line than when it came out of the final spin.
Season of Nights and Days a Constant Temperature. Season of Not Having The Right Shoes, and of wondering how that first chilblain on my big toe has crept in so early. Of Putting On Boots in the morning and not feeling overdressed. Of Taking A Scarf even if it sits in my bag all day.
Season of Leaves gilding the pavement where there were none a week ago. Of Looking Upwards on the tree-canopied avenue to a hidden fresco of green and ivory where the chestnut trees are just beginning to turn, the first leaves drained of their colour but not yet dried or dropping. Of Slippery Steps and granite kerbs greased with the seasonal damp.
Season of the Last Swallows skidding over the tired vegetation, the Autumn Smell beginning in the copse, Ducks heard but not seen on the reed-hidden pond and the skip skip skip of a roe deer along the fence line.
Of a Stubble Field and Gulls hanging behind the tractor like a cloud of flies. Of Straw Bales getting soggy in the field before the farmer can get them in. Of a Cloud of Sparrows descending on the buddleia as its short-lived purple summer has turned back to seedy brown again.
Of Overblown Blackberries turned to mush on the briars. Of Elderberry Beads blackening the hedgerows along the train tracks when last time I took that trip it was all a creamy green mist of their blossoms. Of Crab Apples of whose edibility I’m unsure leaning gold or rosy over a fence or halfway down the field hedge.
Of Bulbous Nodules swelling into Apples in my neighbours’ garden. Of Wilting Convolvulus, that every year never quite makes it to the top of the telegraph wire behind the back fence. Of Brown Spiders big-bodied in their webs, hanging everywhere and stealthily camouflaged with the September foliage to an extra un-expected scare. Of Webs rendered beautiful and jewel-like in the week of mist, leaving me in mixed admiration and aversion to their weavers.
Season of Seagulls gone out to Sea, or inland to the rubbish tips. Of Ducks on the River that look like adults but whose mealy freckles in their nearly-adult plumage marks them out as last springs hatchlings all but grown up.
Season of New Students walking and talking into the temporary lull of early September when the holiday-makers had all gone home but term had not yet started. Season of Supermarket Cram between four and six in the afternoon, and of No Biscuits left on the shelves by the time I get out of work.
Of Remembering that We were Them once, and that This Was How We Got Here, however differently we wore our jeans and jumpers back in the day, however long ago it might seem now.
And of Waiting for A Break in The Cloud so we can look up at the sky as the evenings draw steadily earlier and earlier and say look, there’s Orion…
To read the John Keats poem from which that oft-quoted ‘of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ line originates click here.
What is your late September a Season Of…? Share in the comments if you wish.
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Particularly susceptible to mist and fog in the early spring and autumn, here’s some misty sentences from March in Falmouth.