a single bright acid yellow hazel leaf lies on the dark ground, a luminous delight, a consolation for the return of bare-branched winter.
along the headlands, leaves cover the stubble; piles of delicately branched ash leaves, the last to unfurl, and the first to fall – the ash trees are all bare now. there are plenty of oak leaves down too, but the trees seem unaffected, some have not even changed colour much yet. others stand out from the hedgerow in their full ginger glory.
the big golden tan saw-edged shape of a sweet chestnut leaf catches my eye .
in the wood the yellowy leaves change the grey light of a dull day as though the sun were shining through them.
the hollies and the ivy take on a darker tone in contrast; a muntjac deer silently lopes away in the deeper shade.
an oak tree’s copper foliage hangs over the hazels.
and sycamores on the field edge sport their yellow-green leaves, beauty-spotted with tarspot fungus.
the beech, queen of the wood, and protected by the thick canopy, has hardly begun to cut off the supply of sap to her leaves.
out on the scrub-grown water meadow, a sycamore blazes with orange and ochre amongst the dull greys and greens of goat willow; their turn to catch fire comes later.
field maples are the most colourful of our native trees, and in the lane they buzz with sweet rose reds amongst the green.
one ash here has hung onto its bunches of copper coloured seeds like massy clumps of keys
vivid yellow is the predominant colour; it is in the maples
and the blackthorn, as well as the hazels, in the high hedges that line the track.
notes of red in guelder rose, bryony berries
and bramble leaves which glow bright pink and orange against the darker under-hedge.
further down the lane the bracken has become more delicate as it dies off, the papery ochre and copper filigree of its fronds drooping down
soon to become one russet mass
and dissolve away.
in Clip Street there are oaks with huge horizontal branches across the road, some with ochre leaves, some still green. the oak is the only tree with the strength to resist gravity quite so obstinately.
back in my garden I have a crop of sloes to harvest
the dogwood is turning scarlet, and today in the wind these bright leaves are blowing across the grass.
my hornbeam tree, leaves turned to green-gold, which I planted ten years ago, is reaching up to rival the beech tree next to it, established then, but its top now smothered in wild hops and montana clematis.