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Autumn at the Lake on the Crookedshore

October 6, 2008

The lake at Orlock, barely half a mile inland from the crookedshore, is a hidden jewel, which reveals its glories only to those who take the time to notice. This day, the dog and I set off across the earth works which enjamb the north-east end and make our way around the perimeter like a slow tidal surge whose movement disturbs both sides of the path

A busy-body of mallards strump down the slope, complaining all the way into the lake as we approach. The petrol blues and greens and whites of the neck and head of the males sparkle and shine in the morning sun.

A little further on I realise that the pheasants have sought to colonise this foreign side of the water. They hide out in the bushes and hedges like an advance troop daring us to spot them and engage. Then, when they judge the risk is too high, they take off in a clatter of wings and branches.  How many? I don’t know. Ten, twenty, maybe even thirty of them perhaps. I stand and watch one fly low over the water right to the other side, coughing his hollow warning cry the whole way until he lands in more familiar territory.

Still the brambles produce their abundance. It seems like the recent spell of fine weather has refreshed them and though I thought the best was past, I was wrong. I stop and talk along the way to a man with his two dogs. The animals swim after sticks and even the old worn out lab seems to have a new lease on life.

Later I watch the pheasants in the field. They play chicken with the baler gathering the straw and I notice how the warm golden earth contrasts wonderfully with the browns, whites and reds of their plumage.

Colour and sound and beauty all around. It seems to me that though we regret the passing of summer, and fear the onset of the slow death of autumn and the apparent lifelessness of winter, that there is endless variety and vitality for those who will pay attention.

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