The autumnal opera opens with the air biting like a bitter lemon on dry lips and the air smelling of decaying leaves and wood smoke. A prima donna sings an aria that touches almost every leaf, painting them every shade of red, yellow and orange; each colour matching the notes of her song. This is then echoed by a chorus throughout the land, turning forests to fire with colour. At the same the daily rhythm goes from legato to staccato, as the day length gets shorter, which in turn makes the leaves fall like ghost notes as few hear the sound of them falling. The crunch underfoot as walk through them is like listening a plucked cello playing, which is at times drowned out by the violins mimicking the sounds of human traffic. Then as the final note is sung, trees stand bare, and the theatre empties till all is silent. Well at least until Jack Frost sings his melancholy blues next season.
Today I walked in the late summer sun, the leaves were chatting to each other to discuss the forthcoming autumnal ball and the birds were busy packing their bags for the journey to the south. As I looked to my left I saw a flash of grey dart past, which then settled down in front of me, as my eyes caught up they saw it was a squirrel. I swear he smiled before he was off again. I followed with my eyes and ears where he ran, up the nearest beech tree to the top, then looking down to see if I was watching him, he paused for just a few seconds but unlike an Olympic diver he did not jump off but run back down the tree and paused again to see if I would ever catch him with my camera lens or not.
Instead of running he teased me walking slowly through the grass, posing briefly in the sun before running off once again up a tree. This time he chose a sycamore, going through a hole then stuck his head out from it, like a small child it felt like he was sticking his tongue out at me. As I went to take his picture, again he disappeared. Soon I felt a brush by my feet, as I spun round into the distance between to oaks I saw he’d run. He stopped again, but this time was to say goodbye. I held out my left hand aloft and waved his way but he was gone again for his next adventure. I hope one day we’ll meet again, even if we do not, I know I will always remember our all but brief encounter.