October has arrived with dark skies and rain. Autumn is firmly here now and summer feels long gone. The woods are slowly changing colour, the birches with swathes of yellowing leaves, the rowans red and orange. So far the changes are subtle and the colours mostly faded and understated. How they will turn is always something I await with keen anticipation. Will this year be one of great sweeps of brilliant colour or one of a slow washing away of summer’s greenness? Will the autumn gales strip the leaves before their full potential glory appears? Some years the gold of the birches dominates, in others the red of the rowan. Then there are the wild cherries, just beginning to show red hints, and the aspen, last to come into leaf in the spring and still green as if summer still reigns. The larches too show little sign of the changes to come. On open slopes the bracken is brown and golden and beginning to die back, creating easy walking instead of a thrash through the dense high ferns. The woods are quiet. Little stirs. Even the pheasants choose to run and hide in the undergrowth at my approach rather than explode noisily into the air. A flock of tits – another sign of autumn – piped shrilly as they explored a birch grove then were gone. A lone buzzard flapped lazily from its watch post on a tall pine and sailed effortlessly over the glen. Leaves, blown down in recent gales, carpet the paths and the only sound is the gentle swish as my shoes brush through them. There is a feeling of expectation, a hush before winter arrives. But the next gales are forecast to arrive soon.
Photo info: Rowan colours. Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF-S 18-55 IS@55mm, 1/20 @ f5.6, ISO 400, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.4.