The Two-Season Shots

Today was a rain-sodden, autumnal day, greeting me first thing this morning as I poked my head out of the attic window of my bedroom. It reinforced my opinion that Christmas decorations should not be up before December, or at least before all of the leaves are off the trees.

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Then I walked into The Printworks in Manchester. In the shadows of this covered thoroughfare I was greeted by this Ice blue vista:

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Bet you can guess which one the kids preferred? The wife too.

They went off spending money, I went off counting leaves.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

a hollowed out,
    rictus grin
    placed prominently
    at this liminal time

a curious crossroads 
    of old and new
    with but a cursory nod
    to the peaceful host 

frail shelter
    from this Samhain storm
    a rail of russet leaves
    and borne
    the broken limbs
    of oak

and scorned
    a single flame,
    faltering.


©Andrew James Murray

Corvids

Corvids

A clamour of crows,
raucous and riotous
in their autumn fraternity.

Light-golden bathed,
arbitrating
beneath the season’s
bowered crown.

A dirt road winds
through the 
foilaged banks.

A single jackdaw
dines on a
roadkill banquet,
fading
upon the forest edge.

Melting into sundown.

And from the depths:
the screaming,
spectral, jays.


©AJM

Of Creeping Mind

I’ve been sat outside tonight reading ghost stories by the criminally forgotten 19th Century writer Sheridan Le Fanu, drinking coffee and watching both the night and the fog descend: a gradual, conspiratorial settling upon my conceding town.

Setting is everything.

The muffling atmosphere has put me in mind to watch Jack The Ripper with Michael Caine.

It may only be the first day of November, but winter evenings start here.

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The Forecast Is Wet And Windy Outside, Stormy Inside

Autumn has come roaring in with a vengeance, blasting away all notions of an Indian Summer.

Sixty miles per hour winds, pouring rain, and I could not find my waterproof coat anywhere. I had the kids all wrapped up to brave the elements this morning, but my own efforts to withstand the October onslaught were seriously hampered. I left it to the last possible moment before we left on the school run, but the jacket was nowhere to be found. As it was, I had to fall back on a fairly typical soak-me-up-and-wring-me-out coat that put up a resistance for all of five minutes.

Buffeted by the winds, as fellow pedestrians struggled with umbrellas turning inside out, my two children and I made the challenging trek into school. Along the way we had to navigate the Puddle Of Doom. This is a stretch of water that gathers in the road by a bus stop whenever it rains, and when cars plough through it it creates a splash of up to five feet high. I kid you not.

So it is all about the timing. We wait until there is a gap in the traffic and then we run along the pavement hoping to pass it before another car comes along.

Of course, the kids love it!

It looks something like this photograph here, only you cannot see the absolute joy radiating on my face as I experience this beautiful season.

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I managed to get them to school in a fairly presentable state, still bemoaning the fact that I did not have my waterproof amidst growing suspicions that my wife may have sold it or threw it out, then made the journey back, involving another sprint past the Puddle Of Doom as a car appeared to speed up,  the driver no doubt attempting to chalk off his first hit of the day.

I got back soaked, my jeans, boxers, jumpers, socks, everything. 

Next I walked the dog, which I normally do at 7.30 but had delayed, reasoning that if both I and the house, because of the dog, is going to get wet, I may as well do it all in one go. I gave our Golden Retriever the shortest walk on record, then dried him with an old towel we use especially for him and the kitchen floor that he skates in on.

Finally I could get out of my wet clothes. My useless jacket and hat went on the bathroom radiator, above my leaking boots, and I swapped my jeans and boxers for dry ones. I dried my hair (yes my hat was also similarly useless) and made myself a hot cup of tea-one of the last remnants of English civility.

At that point, as I sat down, my wife sent me a text, asking if I could nip into town to pick some things up for her.

Ha ha ha-I laughed all the way to Divorce Court.

Pioneers Of The Fall

The tree outside my house. Those handful of orange leaves are the pioneers of the fall. A reconnaissance party on a scouting mission behind the verdant green lines. The advance guard of the impending russet invasion.

We may still be in August, with suncream on hopeful standby,  but you get the feeling that a shift is taking place. The starlings seem to be flocking together already for safety and warmth. Sunset creeps closer. The wheel turns, relentless. The kids crave their conkers.

Outside my window, those orange and brown leaves will spread like a contagion, spindrift of decay scattered on strengthening winds. Autumn creeps closer. The windows are closed.

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©AJM