The two or three hours I spent sitting on a green plastic chair in Gascony at the weekend were very happy hours indeed. In front of me was what I love best, a slightly strange collection of trees. A mature cedar of Lebanon and a Deodar cedar, both text book examples of their individual growing habit, standing over a perfectly round cherry and a small avenue of cone shaped young cedars. It was the wonderfully satisfying brain teaser of shape in front of shape in front of shape and the moon, still bright in the perfect morning sky, slowly colliding with the trees.
This is an old gravel pit on a warm October afternoon, a hidden world of optical illusions, it is mostly out of focus. It is dark on polished dark in deep shadow. It is strong light climbing alder trees and piercing gloom in unexpected places. Here wrens shout and stamp while hundreds of choreographed ducks silently move from left to right across the lake, like dominos they go, slowly rolling depth into the picture. A red kite is chased by a crow far, far above you and a moorhen shouts blue murder.
Beyond the poplars lie acres of winter ready earth, trimmed hedges and cut verges. But here in this wild place summer hasn’t ended, flowers still bloom and insects still shimmer. Here, is a larder brim full of fruit and nuts and seeds. And also this year, of voles! I’ve never seen so many voles in my life.
Matt and Suzanne squeeze out the last drops of summer on their boat, the forester has gone fishing but I prefer to sit here, in a field amongst seed heads, in rose gold September light listening to the final encore of crickets.
With his chainsaw, Billy has sliced through a clump of alders like a marzipan covered cake, revealing the cool dark centre veined with stems. The stumps have faded from livid orange to mellow pink and the wood is stacked ready for the winter after next.