Autumn

Across two fields, large ones, there is a stream which feeds into our town’s main river, which in turn is a tributary of the Thames. The stream is lined, as streams should be, by mature willow trees. I can barely see them this late afternoon because they are mainly hidden by mist. There is a bridge over the stream. It has stone walls where I sometimes sit,  and struggle to see the flow where it is hidden by weeds and bramble which stretch from side to side. A mile downstream there is a pump house, the source, I’m told, of the town’s water supplies more than a century ago. Last time I sat there the wheat in the neighbouring fields was nearly ready for harvesting. But that season has come and gone and, in a flash as it seems to me, the earth has been ploughed and next year’s crop of oil seed is established and sturdy. I mustn’t be greedy to hold on to this scene.  But if I were a builder these two great fields, divided by a lone elder tree, would be perfect for a new housing estate. There’s been some talk of that. But if it were built I would miss the view of the distant hills, dark green and gold which are now invisible in the mist.

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