Posted by: Ross Gardner | November 27, 2016



Spider silk in the November sun. Ross Gardner 2016.

Odd, perhaps, to be reminded of nature’s prolificacy during those late-November days when autumn’s senescence resting with increasing weight about the countryside.  Odd, but nevertheless the case, as I sat on the slopes of the Benleet Downs (more familiarly known as Hadleigh Country Park).

Sheltered from the fresh breeze, I was feeling warmed by the mid-afternoon sun, already low in the sky.  Scarcely a leaf hereabouts was without the yellowing tints of the season, even the stubborn oaks so reluctant to relinquish their foliage.  Those of the plentiful hawthorn had largely been replaced by the blush of red berries, to the evident gratitude of the blackbirds that clucked their frequent annoyance at my passing and interruption to their feasting.  Along with the attentions of the gorging woodpigeons, will there be much fruit left by the time the winter redwing and fieldfare flocks pass this way?  I had earlier walked past arable land with scatterings of lapwing and across grazing-marsh with an increasing number of teal drawn to the dykes and pools.  Everything was the very image of autumn.

But as the sun shone onto my face through the dried, brown heads of knapweed that had hazed the grasslands with purple a few months before, the air in places glimmered with slivers of silver light.  There are I think, somethings that are always there to be seen in all but the most frigid depths of winter, but from which we may be easily distracted by the throng of other life around them.  Perhaps it is so with the gleaming gossamer strands I saw snagged about the grasses and old flower-heads, revealed more abundantly by the chance alignment of myself, the descending sun and the unexpected evidence of life that,  even if more subtely than before, still teems in between.

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