Tuesday, 18 November 2014
An Autumn Day
Between two weather systems, one either side of the island, so today is bright and clear, the low Sun in a blue sky with occasional scudding clouds moving steadily in the breeze and casting shadows on the land as they pass. The pale, clear light of the Sun illuminates the brittle leaves still on the trees, dry rusty-gold and faded yellow, yet they glow in the translucent air.
As often on clear days the roar of low-flying military jets suddenly fills the valley, taking advantage of the perfect weather for practice following the contours of the hills. Just as suddenly they are gone, looping back to some far distant air base, and the only sound left behind is the mewing of a pair of buzzards overhead. Are these from the huge nest I spotted at the top of one of the trees growing further down the slope but visible from the path along the ridge which is level with the treetops?
The dew pond on Bryn Hir was full of water with pondweed growing in it, as if it were always so and not just as likely to be dry as it sometimes is when I visit. The view from here displays the Eleri Valley as a long, curved sweep between hills and I can pick out places I walk to and woods I pass through above the river, and the line of the river in the narrow gorge below the wooded slopes. In the other direction a v-shaped patch of sea is visible between two rounded hills, offset from each other but appearing level in this angle of view.
It is a perfect day. I walk back down off the open hillside and into the woods again. There is a choice of paths where I often hesitate before deciding which way to take. Today I go up through a derelict gate and round the hill fort where a short-lived wooden motte and bailey castle was erected in the 12th century by an intrusive Norman lord. Now it is almost inaccessible because of the bramble and gorse that clothe the slopes. I keep to the footpath across a wet, boggy field and then take the lane down to the village.
The arils on the ancient yew in the churchyard are beginning to darken. Here under the deep green shade I look out at the sunlight on the hillside trees shining amber through the autumnal hues of the leaves. Below, the stream rushes down into a culvert and the sound of it contrasts with the stillness of the water in the well-shaft of the Holy Well where I pause and carry a blessing home.