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When the fields are brown

There is a sense of quiet settling across the once-busy fields, now shorn of their wheat, barley and rape. The flowers in the ditches are no longer as riotous or plentiful in colour and variety and the birdsong is somewhat muted.


The cereal harvest is gathered in and there is a sense in the air of that pause that comes after frenetic work to get a project completed by deadline, that moment of relief that it is now done and the opportunity to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the sense of completion. There is satisfaction in the air but also a kind of melancholy, knowing that spring has gone and summer is nearing its end, the days still have the upper hand but they are now perceptibly giving way to the nights.


Hazel
But the year is not yet done with colour and fragrance and song. Still rosebay willowherb, knapweed and tufted vetch are abundant in the ditches, the set-aside is full of speedwell and scarlet pimpernel and butterflies still flit from flower to flower. But this not just a tale of hangers-on. Rather it is a time of new riches emerging. The hedgerows are increasingly glowing with blackberries slowly turning from green to red to black, hazel nuts hang from twigs, conkers cluster beneath the changing leaves of the horse chestnut trees, elderberries are starting to make their appearance, the sloes are a rich purple, acorns are peaking out from beneath oak leaves, rosehips are turning from green to red, vibrant patches of red berries decorate the guelder rose and the spindle fruit are emerging.
Guelder rose

The fields may be brown now, the blooms less evident, but there is more than enough in nature still to excite and arouse curiosity - we just have to look a little closer, appreciate with a little more attention - along with the knowledge that this is the prelude to the year's autumn swansong when the leaves sing their last in glorious colour.

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