Coun­try Mouse

All of a flutter

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

MANY peo­ple’s favourite sea­son is spring, for the mirac­u­lous man­ner in which it re­vives, re­news and recharges the drab coun­try­side af­ter the drea­ri­est of win­ter months. How­ever, my best-loved time of year has al­ways been au­tumn. I look for­ward to wrap­ping up on chill morn­ings when the grass crunches un­der­foot with a glis­ten­ing frost and the way the trees look as if they’ve been set ablaze with shades of fiery ma­genta, ochre and burnt um­ber. How right Al­bert Ca­mus was when he de­scribed au­tumn as ‘a sec­ond spring where ev­ery leaf is a flower’.

Last week, when I sat out­side pluck­ing a cock pheas­ant, its irides­cent orange-and-green-flecked feath­ers float­ing away in the same rhyth­mic and rest­ful man­ner in which the leaves from a nearby walnut tree flut­tered to the ground, I was re­minded of Vita Sackville-west’s BBC ra­dio broad­cast in 1950, in which she urged the au­di­ence to ap­pre­ci­ate bet­ter the un­re­mark­able de­lights in life. She asked lis­ten­ers to ac­knowl­edge ‘the small but in­tense plea­sure of walk­ing through dry leaves and kick­ing them up as you go… they rus­tle, they bus­tle, they crackle’. Vita could not have pre­dicted the cur­rent trend for ‘mind­ful­ness’, but her en­treaty to be more aware of the ev­ery­day beauty around us is a good one. PL

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