Late Summer Lakeland 🍂🌻

Each season bears unique joys to us. There’s a mellowness about late summer / early autumn here that I’m always grateful for. A softening of the light. A softening succession of reflection at both morning and evening. A softening awareness of the importance of home – wheresoever ‘home’ may be for us at any given time.

Wildflowers have attracted hundreds of bees and butterflies so that the garden is full of the hum of satisfied pollen-seekers quietly going about their business. I’ve revelled for half an hour this morning in recalling a lovely Instagram photo I saw recently – of two replete bees, sleeping in the soft petals of a poppy, two of them together, because apparently they like to hold each other’s knees and feet while they sleep! Who knew? And the butterflies speak silently of the complex metamorphosing journeys they’ve been on. And so do I.

The red squirrels are stocking up supplies and I feel close to them as I stack the log store with sweet smelling kiln-dried ash for the stove. Occasionally split logs are reunited – or at least seen close to each other again – and their rings speak of their story too, and I wonder where the engineered oak boards of my little sitting room once flourished elsewhere, and from whence came this ash, knowing how well it will scent and warm home until it becomes whatever comes next.

The slant of the early sunlight illuminates the promises of the morning – and asks to be remembered should tomorrow be a grey day. And the colours of the garden flowers prompt thoughts of harvest – and especially, this morning, somehow, of the warm scent of harvest bread from a distance, far away …

Evening meals begin to move away from salad-stuffs, turning towards the more substantial – buttered and minted potatoes, greens and steak pie.

And after brisk walks, lungs full of fresh air, and daily reacquaintance with the long backbone of the Pennine Ridge and the Ullswater Fells – sometimes under mist and sometimes mirage, autumnal movement towards books and the piano again. The gentle, slow clip-clopping of horse and rider passing my window suggest that they, too, are inclined less to rush today and more to a quieter, calmer contemplation.

I know these gifts are important, and reasons enough for profound thankfulness in a world which is also beset with fear and wonder, a sense of separateness – between one human and another, and between humankind and other life forms too. I ask myself in late summer to make time to be aware of others – near and far, in peace or fear. I seek to be more aware of the gift of the breath in my body, and in every body. I wonder in awe at the sleeping holding of the bees’ knees, and the instinct that directs a red squirrel’s calendar. I celebrate the ‘I see!’ miracles that unfold into sunlight from the incomprehensible depths of wildflower seeds, and the life-story record written in the rings in trees.

And you and I contemplate the cyclical dying, and the rising of the light … 🌻🍂☀️

Different arrivals

I wrote the other day about Professor Brian Cox’s reflections upon snowflakes and the fact that each has taken a different journey. I also posted a while ago about Mary Oliver’s The Other Kingdoms. It’s a poem that yields new and ever deeper fruits with every reading – and I’m struck today by the thought that Brian Cox would doubtless appreciate her lines

Consider …

… the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals.

Mary Oliver
from The Other Kingdoms
The Truro Bear and Other Adventures

Mary Oliver and Brian Cox alike invite us to contemplate. What’s the hidden story (even where and if unplanned or not deliberately intended) behind different elements of creation, whether poetic or physical?  Could either have anticipated that their works would lead me to contemplate an hour’s people watching on London’s Euston Station? Observing people greeting one another it’s plain that there are dozens of words to describe different arrivals. Diversity in unity. Poetic creativity. Life.