Country mouse looks forward to autumn

Seasons of plenty.

At the end of last week, lying awake in the small hours, I heard autumn arrive. It was the calling of two tawny owls sorting out their territories. It has been an amazing summer, a re-enactment of my childhood memories, but now it’s gone.

Last winter’s rains meant that everything grew like Topsy and then, on seemingly endless hot, summer days, ripened to achieve record-breaking harvests in the field, vegetable garden or hedgerow. I hadn’t noticed the swallows leaving—one day, they were just gone—but the arriving geese were unmissable, great, honking skeins stabbing their way across the sky, prickling the hairs on the wildfowlers’ necks.

The shooting season is fully underway, the pheasant season began officially last week and, in less than a month, the hunts will be hosting their opening meets. The short days of December and January, filled with field sports, frosty mornings and evening log fires, are, for many countrymen, the best time of all, but now, we can look forward to autumn and its amazing colours, fruits and fungi. For each of our four seasons, we should be grateful—plenty of other countries don’t have as many.

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