Late summer is one of my favourite times of year. The crisp hint of autumnal air is appearing on the horizon alongside the long lingering sunsets that seem to stretch endlessly across the sky. In the countryside, harvesting is high on the agenda and we are lulled to sleep by the soft whirring of the drier in the farmyard next door before receiving an early morning wake-up call from the tractors at daybreak. The owls are out too; their melodic calls float across from the tree-lined track and permeate the sounds of industry to signify that twilight is upon us.
Best of all, berries start to blush on the hedges and bushes, their tantalising fruits waiting to be turned into jellies and jams - when we have a free moment of course; this time of year is often so busy, as we prepare for the months ahead both in the garden and at work. My eyes are forever hunting out ripe blackberries to make my favourite pie, and when I catch a glimpse it is as though nature's treasure trove has been revealed just for me and frantic picking takes place until there's just enough left for the birds to peck and nibble on.
Long evening walks clear my head after a tough day - and there have been a few of those this week - but the cathartic sense of being outdoors and following the footsteps of nature as the seasons drift and change is what keeps me going. The fresh breeze on the back of my neck, the crunch as I walk through the strands of leftover wheat stems, the feeling of stealing those last few moments of warmth as the sun slowly sets; these are what I'm noticing right now. I always wait impatiently for the start of the mellow, fruitful season of autumn, but when I stop and think about it, late summer is so beautiful that perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.