Autumn Dawn

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There were geese above the dripping haws, and all the low ground smool’d in mist and cobwebs. The river flooded yesterday and left pools in the reeds and the splashy ground; it was no surprise to find those old loops filled with snipe and teal at the first link of light. The dogs clattered belly-deep through the fading floods, and half curled flakes of duck down did the work of bobbing in their wake. And noisiest of all; a dozen redshank flared up into the stars and left me blinking in my pyjamas – they’re unusual friends to find so far inland at this time of year.

Now I turn to the prospect of mowing silage, which has been growing on well for the past ten weeks. Perhaps it’s a little slushy and soft in these fading days, but I have no option but to gather up volume and pretend it pleases me. I’ll have to cut it all by the end of today, but the dew is slow to move in this heavy breeze; my work has been postponed to well after lunchtime.

I must admit I’m dreading this job, but there’s no avoiding it. Memories of 2018 come back to haunt me, and I go to the tractor with a fair measure of dread on my shoulders. But I know it will be good to have it in. I look forward to the weekend and the satisfaction I’ll take from casting my eye over a squeaking stack of heavy black bales.


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