Some days mild and autumnal in Southern England, cooler and winter is more advanced further north

The final part of I Am the Autumnal Sun by Henry David Thoreau.

I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter’s moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief…

I had never heard of him until I found this poem in a book my daughter recommended. I expect our US readers think my ignorance is shameful. But I’m glad to find this poem now – it sums up the mood for my walk this afternoon, when I took this photograph as it was getting dark. 

A cleared field, I think to lie fallow over the winter then ploughed in the new year. A small wood to two sides and the main A road on the third. 

We made a short visit up north earlier this month. Much of Birkenhead Priory is in ruins. Its a bit of a contrast – the ruins of a medieval priory (with some Victorian rebuilding) on the banks of the River Mersey next door to the Cammel Laird shipyard. 

And in Chester the remains of an older religion. I photographed these trees along the River Dee from the Roman shrine to the godess Minerva. 

The shrine is in Edgar’s Field Handbridge. King Edgar was the King of Wessex, then later through his mother King of Mercia; in 973 at Chester six (some sources say eight) other British Kings pledged their allegiance to him, an important symbol of the unification of England into one Kingdom begun under his grandfather Athelstan (although two of those Kings were Scottish). Legend has it that the Kings rowed King Edgar down the Dee to a service in the old Cathedral which is now the Parish church of St John the Baptist. The shrine is built into the rock of a sandstone quarry by an opening called Edgar’s Cave. 

Photographs E Weatherwax England November 2016


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