There are two observation challenges while walking in nature: the first to find the hidden species, and the second to see the beauty and importance of common, obvious things that seldom capture much of our time.
There is a national trail in Surrey that reveals plenty of both. The North Downs Way is south-east England’s most absorbing footpath, threading through over 150 miles (250km) of chalky hills, ancient beechwoods and rolling farmland. I live on it, or very nearly; it runs through my parish on its pilgrimage to Canterbury and the sea.
It is big enough to feel uncrowded, human-wise, but the wild is there to offer its company.
Amethyst deceivers bring royal purple to the forest. The name reflects their variable shape which can outfox identification. These clustered on a fallen beech, joining moss in a living shroud.
The beech that still stand are catching the light as though it were a cricket ball flying towards them in the season’s last match.
Flowers, too, are still shining. Poppies redden the edges of arable land.
Scarlet pimpernels peep through the grass.
And here – the harbinger of spring, resting on a grass stem coloured by autumn:
It is a brimstone, and although at rest it mimics a leaf, on the wing the male is brilliant yellow. One of our longest-lived butterflies, it hibernates through the winter.
Whatever wild dramas autumn and winter bring, it will be oblivious.
4 thoughts on “The Amethyst”
Adele, very nice post! Beautiful images! I think of Autumn as a wonderful friend, with her cold mornings and sunny warm afternoons. So far! We had had a wonderful Summer with very little rain. Count the showers on the fingers of one hand type summer. Autumn it turning out the same, to date. A bit more rain but lovely sunny weather too! It’s 20 Degrees today and clear as a bell! Love it!
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It’s definitely turning a bit colder here now. Glad you had a sunny summer! I hope it rains and snows in Waterton though – they’ve had a summer to remember for other reasons, that’s for sure.
Lovely, Adele! Your eye for the small and unobtrusive has not suffered in your absence; you are a spirit of nature. Your narrative reminds me of nothing so much as the descriptions by Kenneth Grahame in “The Wind in the Willows>”
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Thank you 🙂 I’m honoured by the comparison!