Yesterday was bright and sunny, far too nice to stay indoors, and my camera trigger finger was twitching...
So I hopped in my little car and drove through the sunny West Sussex countryside to the village of Fittleworth. Just outside the village is Hesworth Common, an area of wooded heath, with a mixture of Scots Pine, Birch and Oak, and open patches where heather remains in the hill tops, above valley bottom bogs in which rare plants such as sundew and bog asphodel cling to existence between the grasses.
When I arrived, the small muddy car park was almost full, but soon the morning dog-walkers began to leave and the place emptied out. The rain-damp woodland floor was a thick carpet of leaves and mulch, fallen spiky cases spilling sweet chestnuts onto mats of pine-needles, emerald mosses and grey-green lichen coated each stump and windfall log, whilst here and there strange earth-ball or puff-ball fungi protruded from the ground.
Bracken was turning glorious autumn shades and the sun sent long shadows, the shade contrasting with the golden light, each making the other seem stronger, just as the reds and browns of the dying leaves and the dark browns and greys of the tree trunks and earth, seemed to make those leaves and mosses still green gleam brighter still, in turn creating the perfect backdrop for the sunlit hues of golds and orange to glow as if from some internal light. Squirrels scattered across the leaf strewn ground, pink breasted jays squawked in the tree tops, and large mixed flocks of tits and 'crests squeaked and flitted between the branches. Huge ancient oaks, gnarled and twisted, sprawled between clumps of birch and pine, reminding me, as they appeared to gaze out across wooded hill and fertile valley, towards the rolling heights of the South Downs, of a line in the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling; "Sussex" which coincidentally I had been reading only that morning; "Huge oaks and old, the which we hold No more than Sussex weed".
Quite appropriate as it was National Poetry Day!