The season of autumn has invaded all our senses: the clear, colder scents in the air whilst before our eyes the world is painted in an entirely different palette.
Our ears pick up the circling birds, the pheasants that squawk as they roost in late afternoon, the distant hum of the farm machines carefully drilling the seeds, treading lightly despite their vast size. Eddies of winds snatch at the fallen leaves and are worth a quick dart to catch – nothing wrong with a little bit of luck and they offer a beautiful finale to their cycle of the year.
Wherever I walk , the damp grass underfoot means I have to change my shoes yet again whilst the wildflower meadow has turned all colours of cinnamon with the leaves and hollow stalks of a myriad of plants stiff and splintering.
Nevertheless each changing day of weather and nature gives peace and solace whilst the indefatigable happy dogs offer their usual noisy joy exploring everything anew, even if it is the same walk as yesterday.
Trees, plants and wildlife of all shapes and sizes are most visibly preparing for change, adapting to the time of year. There are fewer leaves on large trees as the winds pick up, sugars are stored in the berries and seeds of plants and trees providing a pantry for assorted wildlife and the pace of life slows in order to use up fewer resources. Every season is the same in the small subtle signs of change that shows how the world around us constantly adapts, the planning for change that is an instinctive part of their life cycle.
The same instinctive knowledge also provides a suitable timescale, knowing that planning in nature takes times and nothing is instant. In some ways many of our partners in this world take a much longer view than we do. Many of the trees we look up to and with whom we share lifetimes have far longer spans of time, we seem to be more transient and yet given our brevity in the grand scheme of things, quicker to adapt the world just to suit us. We rush around but I am not sure what we achieve or we contribute to others, certainly relatively little to help the trees, the forests, the wildlife or the seas.
On the other hand we are often not very good at accepting change in terms of our own lives. There are entire business schools dedicated to how to effect change in business whilst the anti-ageing industry, and indeed the beauty industry as a whole, must be one of the biggest on the planet. Despite all our efforts to hold back time though, every day our bodies, tasks and world change, we are forced to adapt to the weather and the challenges of the previous day slip away and new ones presents themselves.
This concept of change, how easily it comes to the natural world and how hard we fight against it, was one that I thought about a lot as I wrote my recent book “Seasons at Highclere”. It was so self-evident in all the beautiful photographs we took as one month slipped into another with almost effortless grace and beauty in marked contrast to the almost constantly negative impacts that we humans seem to have.
I had not realised that COPT 26 was so called because it is the 26th attempt to discuss climate change, what we should not have done and how we should change. HM the Queen is, as ever, entirely right when she says that this is the time to start doing rather than to merely waffle and posture about it.