Thursday 30 September 2010

An Autumn Journey

(mixed media collage of
pressed autumn leaves,
paper, tissue and gold ink)

Autumn is my favourite time of year. When I was a child I did all the usual autumnal things such as hiking to the next village to find the best horse chestnut trees, returning home with my pockets stuffed full of conkers and then, selecting the biggest and best conkers for my arsenal, sometimes bartering or swapping the finest specimens with friends. Holes were pierced through the conkers with Mam's darning needle and then threaded with string, securely knotted underneath. Only then could I wrap the loose end of string around my fist, find a suitable opponent, take aim and fire! I don't remember being such a good shot but I remember too well, wincing at the pain of having my knuckles crushed in conker battle - ouch!

Another pastime was harvesting hazel nuts. Our local pit wood teemed with an assortment of trees, each having its own seasonal fascination. We knew where the hazel trees were hidden and we would snatch the nuts from branches and crack the shells with our teeth to find the sweet little kernels inside. Spinning jennies were fun to watch and acorns were collected to make into beaded necklaces. Windswept piles of autumn leaves just begged to be jumped into, kicking up a whirlwind of crisp and crunchy motion.

Dark autumn evenings were always best for fun games of hide and seek. With military precision we kids would hide behind hedges or walls, up trees and in any dark recess we could find. The old gas street lamps gave little exposure to our daring escapes back to home base, racing against the seeker in an attempt to thwart his call of 'BLOCK 1 2 3'. Thrilling squeals of delight, bravado, hoops and calls of encouragement added to our enjoyment. Its a rare occasion these days that I hear children playing joyfully in the street after dark but when I do it brings back happy memories. I think there is little to compare to the sound of childrens' joyous laughter.

These days, I love a gentle walk in mellow autumn sunshine, soaking up the peaceful serenity of drowsy nature, bathe in its rustic colours and selectively dwell in positive acceptance on the changes that life and seasons bring.

(pressed autumn leaves. grasses
and late daisies)

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