I love this time of year, and I love this place; just before the Ashely completes it's dash through the hills and starts to spill out on to the plains.
It's ten-thirty when I start my walk and the sun still hasn't crested the sides of the gorge. A muted light filters through the Autumn leaves and a carpet of orange covers the path - still wet from last night's rain. The bell-birds chime heralding the coming sun and I head on up, hoping to meet the sun coming down.
Those extraverted poplars have already stripped off. While others, more bashful, are still slowly undressing. Across the river the modest evergreens watch on; shocked perhaps by this display of deciduous daring.
Further up I find the sun shamelessly playing among the leaves like a five-year-old in gumboots. I busy myself looking and composing, carefully capturing the light before it moves on. Only later wondering why I didn't pause to let my boots kick through the pile of leaves; to wind back the clock sixty-five years ...
... But I think I know why; alone here with only the sun, the birds, the half-naked trees, there's a quiet magic in the air, crackling like static, demanding that the spell not be broken. There is nothing I can add to this. It is gift.