A Year in the Woods: November

The leaves are now falling, the paths carpeted in lush russets and yellows. It is the time of year I find myself playing “leaf or fungi” as I approach fallen trees and see, from too far away to see detail, spots of paler colours dotted across their bark. Mostly the splotches are leaves but every so often I find wonderful patches of weird shaped fungi.

This year the selection has not been disappointing:

I freely admit that I love fungi for their aesthetics and am hopeless as identifying them (I do not forage for mushrooms, ever) so if you know which ones I’ve photographed, please do tell me what they are!

The rest of the wood is clothed in the colour palette that I most often choose for myself – greens, yellows, oranges, reds – and whilst I do prefer the hope and newness of the woods in spring time, I hold a special place in my heart for the rich earth tones of autumn.

The stream remains swift flowing but not very full and as I walk I find I am mostly looking up at the wonder that is the golden leaves agains the sky or looking down at the carpet of beauty I’m crushing beneath my wellies. The middle distance is forgotten unless I am taking photographs and thus evaluating every element of the walk for colour and shape and interest.

The birds are not shouting, either at me or the sun filled sky, as they do in the glory days of spring but they do still sing; albeit in hushed tones that highlight the fact that this is the dying away of the year. Here the wheel is turning to barrenness of winter, the fallow point, the time of waiting and wanting and wishing. When long nights and short days push us to hunker down, pull what warmth to us that we can and look for the bright points in the daylight hours, being about to get out and feel the sharp air biting inside your lungs can be truly uplifting.

Hopefully these photos will be just as uplifting, even if you are not in a position to get out and about yourself.

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