Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
– John Keats, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Today the leaves have begun to fall in earnest. Flurries billow under the wheels of passing vehicles and the windscreens of parked cars are patterned with a tapestry of gold and orange. Although the season is nearly over, I thought I might share some more Autumn shots, taken during my recent visit to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey.
For an earlier post where I talk about some of the history of Painshill and share some more images, see here.
This year Autumn seems to be extra colourful and extra long. I have been gazing all week at the extraordinary hues of the sycamores and beech trees in my neighbourhood. Some photos will follow in another post. But I thought I couldn’t let Autumn pass without at least one shot of another characteristic part of the season, funghi.
And then of course there has to be a minibeast. This shot of a spiderling will never be a competition image – the background is too busy. But I could hardly resist sharing the little critter’s autumnal livery.
Finally, here’s a truly terrible shot but I include it because it is my first ever recognisable photo of a bat in flight! Karen Anderson, of Modern Memory Keeping, and I went for a morning stroll in Painshill Park the other day and to our astonishment spotted this bat flitting about between the trees. Of course, I had my macro lens on, but I gave it a go anyway. What the little thing thought it was doing out and about at nearly noon is anyone’s guess. I suspect stocking up on some last minute protein before hibernation.
More endless Autumn next time.
No matter what you think about the politics of conflict, today is a day to remember those who have died in war. I want to share some images of one of my local war memorials, the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.
Inside are commemorated over 20,000 airmen lost during World War Two but for whom there is no known grave. The names of those killed seem to run on as endlessly as the memorial’s labyrinthine corridors.
Flags in the roof remind us that the war dead came from all nationalities.
So many young men were lost, literally. With no body found, often the name carved on the wall is all that family have to mark their loved one. Countless small tokens left in nooks around the walls show that even all these years later, individuals are still remembered and mourned.
The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede is a beautiful place, yes, but also a sobering one. It was somewhere I was pleased to take my teenage son whose idea of conflict is influenced by computer games and adventure movies. As we walked the corridors and porticoes, he became quiet and thoughtful. As did we all.