Sunday, 31 August 2014

Hedgerows and harvest

Tomorrow brings the first day of September. 
For the past week or so we have been noticing that the mornings are growing chillier, there is dampness in the air, and the wind gathers in dark clouds and showers from the southwest. 
Ash Keys, Oak Acorns and Sycamore Wings hang brown in the trees, their surrounding skirts of leaves are dusty and worn. 
In the hedgerows and waysides, hands of elder berries bend the boughs low, and bobbled brambles are swelling black beside ochre spotted leaves. 
I spotted the first autumnal fungi today, protruding through the leaf litter that has lain more or less undisturbed all summer-long, already nibbled by night-time mice and slugs.  
The Jay, the painted crow, flies back and forth across the lane with acorns for his stash, whist Robins, still showing signs of late summer moult, relearn their songs. Spiders patient-wait in their webs of silken thread, strung with beads of gold or silver light. 
The harvest has been fruitful, early, the combines and tractors working overtime to bring the precious crops home to the barns. 
When the wind blows from across the fields, Thistledowns keep drifting in the kitchen door, perhaps they are in fact fairies, drawn in as I am by the smell of stewed apples?


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Garden of Delight

Above, the roar of yet another passenger plane across the cloud-broken sky, but even as it passes directly overhead, it doesn't quite manage to drown out the hesitant high notes of the robin, hidden in the overhanging branches of the trees, or the gentle preoccupied hum of honey bees in the warm-scented lavender.  

In the borders, bright bedding plants bask under summer sunshine.
Dark leaved, hot-bloomed exotics add a generous dose of spice and fire, whilst more familiar petals play with the
pallet; purple heads of verbena jut through sprays of yellow fennel, and bright dahlias float, like painted dragon-boats on a sea of montbretia.

Ahead, down the long broadwalk, beyond the flower beds where short mown grass opened out and rolled away beneath the green shade of trees, is a glimpse of reflected light, of victorian glass rising up from the edge of wind-shivered lake.

Picture on a postcard, flowers in your hair.
Let down your guard, forget the busy world, bare-foot in the grass.
Lie back and let the thundershowers roll, as the slow hours of summer pass. 

 All photos taken at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, England. 4th-13th August 2014 (Copyright Sophie-May Lewis/SophiEco Wild)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Poem: Swift Departure

I noticed today, the swifts have left the town. Always last to arrive and first to arrive, these migratory visitors epitomise, for me, the fleeting nature of the long awaited summer. Their thrilling screaming cries and diving flight down the narrow alleyways and cobbled streets of my home-town are a highlight of my year, and I miss them when they are gone.

Swift Departure
No scything wings.
The song thrush, the town-crier sings:
They’ve gone! They’ve gone! They’ve gone!
The empty street gazes up at empty sky.
No screaming dives.
Sparrows, the street-urchins, chirp forlorn:
They’ve gone! They’ve gone! They’ve gone!
No angled shadow.
The starlings, the pearly kings, darkly mourn:
They’ve gone! They’ve gone! They’ve gone!
Around the eaves the wind blows hollow.
No longer spring, they’ve stolen summer;
The cloud-cutters, the city-swallow.

They’ve gone.

(Copyright Sophie-May Lewis)