It’s difficult not to trot out trite, naff, clichéd metaphors about the week’s autumn magnificence.
I stand at the top of the Rutleighs and breathe in the colour, shape and quintessence of the landscape rolling away in front of me. My eyes can’t absorb enough, my brain wants more. I shiver at something so simple in its beauty and yet so complex in the making.
The dogs streak past, ears swept back, eyes bright, tongues pink and wet…they are immediate in the essence of the season.
I quietly, slowly move amongst the cattle watching them munch, unusually content, on autumn grass sweetened by the late sunshine. They gleam like polished conkers against the autumn backdrop.
One of the larger calves, no longer fearful or flighty comes over to lick my hand with his rough, rasping tongue – I scratch his back. His peers, intrigued by his nonchalance, play grandmother’s footsteps. Creeping closer and closer, they extend their necks and tongues in a ridiculous sinuous, swan-like parody, and daring to make contact with some minuscule part of me, they start back like scared hares, to begin the game all over again.
I check the sheep. Ewes stand in the early morning sunlight, steam rising in a soft vaporous mist around them. Yellow bums abound. The rams have done their job and bar returns I should have a busy couple of weeks in March.
Conscious of hyperbole and sentimentality I’ll stop chuntering and let the pictures continue the telling.