Pot of Gold
The poet William Wordsworth, (1770 –1850) wrote “My heart leaps up when I behold / A rainbow in the sky” and there is indeed something magical about them. More prosaically, I remember learning in school that a rainbow is made of seven colours, that the sequence of the colours never changes, always running in the same order from red, the longest wavelength to violet, the shortest one, along with the traditional mnemonic to remember the order in which they appear, namely, “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain” (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
It was of course Isaac Newton who proved that white light is made up of a spectrum of colours by splitting light with a prism. To begin with he only distinguished five colours: red, yellow, green, blue and violet but he admitted his eyes were not very good and later included orange and indigo. In any case they all meld together and there are many more hues.
Yet the rainbow is an optical illusion – it does not actually exist in a specific spot in the sky. The appearance of a rainbow depends on where you’re standing and where the sun is shining. I fear a similar illusion is the legend that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. Today’s rainbow is clearly showing that the pot of gold is buried by the cedar tree. It is a place of beauty as are the woods now in all shades of yellow and glowing embers. At this time of year, the colours suggest energy and positivity at a time of fading life as nature settles down slowly into winter.
Much of our thoughts for the last week have been about the natural world in the light of the international gathering in Glasgow to foster global action on climate change. The talks were led by politicians but it is perhaps an unfortunate fact of their career paths that the nature of their ambitions is rather naturally short term in marked contrast to the landscapes and trees they were discussing whose life line is a slow steady adaption over time.
The ancient Persian poet Rumi advised that it is better to “raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” Yet many of the words uttered at Cop 26 were circular and often a little self-praising. In fact, words can move hearts and hearts can move limbs and thus create action but politicians are often better at being politicians than creating an independent global strategy that stands outside the ambitions of individual states. Scientists and financial institutions with a long view are perhaps of more service here but even they have their agendas.
The pot of gold at Highclere is the beauty here: the yellow leaved trees, the crunch of a mosaic of autumn colours under foot, the last harvest of fruit, the company of animals and the harmony and respect for wildlife and others. It is about stewardship, about putting back as much, if not more, as what we take out and about ensuring that all parts of Highclere thrive in their own way. We are all involved in the product of the land and we are part of the land.
Many of us still worry about nature in the abstract, hesitating to take the step of actual change in the belief that it does not directly affect them. Undoubtedly there is no one answer, and certainly no simple one, but it is about everyone taking small steps.
Two attributes unique to humans are those of complex thought and imagination, both of which we have in abundance. Then it is about the doing and the investing. At Highclere we have sheep and cottages, wool is a marvellous natural insulation material and far better and more effective than many of the manmade alternatives.
The key to success is action, and successful action requires perseverance.
Returning to a rainbow:
“till seem; as to my childhood’s sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven …”
Lady Carnarvon, you and the Lord do an amazing service to Highclere Castle. You both give it your all so others can enjoy this magnificate Castle. So very well done. Cheryl
Dear Lady Carnarvon, in a simple answer, you should have been a speaker at the conference, because you and every land owner, know what it is to invest, and take care of and cherish it. They need more people like you and the Queen, to speak out, and show them, how it should be done. Never stop. Sincerely. Desiree Creary.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon so much for the beautiful writings and pictures. So true, we are in so many ways, care takers of our planet.
What a lovely blog Lady Carnarvon, so interesting as usual. ❤️
Interesting mnemonic since here in the US it is Roy G Biv.
We’re still dreaming of when we can travel over the pond to visit your beautiful home once again and hopefully cross paths with you and your dogs. Until then – how I appreciate all your photos and posts. We’ve been seeing rainbows here(Bellingham, WA – USA) frequently as storms move in across the Pacific and then clouds break and sunshine appears. Thanks for the lines of poetry and as always my favorite – photos of your dogs. How old is the sweet one with white muzzle on the left?
Looking closer at the last photo. Is that a shooting star over Highclere castle in the evening sky?
The comet is B1 417P/NEOWISE was seen from earth in 2021
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your words ring true. Lots of talk in Glasgow, expressing important sentiments, but only decisive action will make the difference. Small steps, big steps, all are needed in the right direction.
Highclere is a shining example of your hard work to preserve and improve it’s natural strength. It is a star in the landscape. Well done for your, and Lord Carnarvon’s stewardship. Your insight and ideas could be of great help to the leaders who seem so unable to bring about positive action and change.
Highclere is a jewel, and “Seasons at Highclere” is a magnificent book, full of ideas, humor, artistry and humbling insights.
I hope you and yours continue to be well, safe and enjoying all the gifts that autumn brings! Thank you.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Thank you so much for what you do, Lady Carnarvon. Your eloquent writing style and magnificent photos are a such a treat. Maybe one day I will get “across the pond” to visit Highclere Castle, but for now I send greetings from Connecticut!
Greetings to you too!
Thank you so very much for this wonderful blog.
Kathleen from Canada.
You are so right Cheryl. The Castle is so beautiful.
I agree with Cheryl, whole heartedly. God has provided the beauty surrounding Highclere, and you are preserving it diligently. Thank you for sharing it with us in pictures. They are always a joy to look at.
Interesting to learn your rhyme for remembering the colors of the rainbow — Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain. In the US, we learn it as ROY G. BIV. (I like yours better!)
Although it is an optical illusion, one can occasionally enjoy the physical ‘end of the rainbow’. One late afternoon a rainbow formed and the end fell into the play yard of a nearby school. I’ll never forget watching my daughters dancing in the multi-colored light motes. It was a magical experience. Autumn (or fall, as we call it here in the US) is my favorite season because of the beautiful light. This morning our fields were burnished with gold from the changing leaves and the drying grasses in the pasture.
Beautiful season I agree
Thank You Lady Carnarvon
Another of your thought provoking Blogs. The changing of the Seasons always stimulates the Mind in to appreciating the Wonders of Nature. With the Global Warming conference I hope the World will come to grips with doing something about Global Warming etc.
Lady Carnarvon how how appreciative We all our when we read your Blogs
Beautiful and inspiring words, Lady Carnarvon! I’m going to share them with my fellow garden club members at our next meeting. Thank you for your wonderful posts each week.
My coffee tasted better while reading your lovely email…..and your beautiful photographs are breathtaking….xoxo Joan from Athens, Ga USA
Thank you Joan
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of pot of gold did you and lord Carnarvon have a nice weekend and thank you for email and nice the rainbow over highcelere castle and fan of Downton abbey and lovely the pictures of the dogs
Thank you so much for the beautiful writings and pictures. It is so true we are care takers of our planet and we need to learn to respect it.
The pictures are beautiful!
Enjoyed your thoughts on nature! How beautiful it is!
I love all the seasons in nature! Each one has something beautiful to admire! As far as the meeting on climate, I wish they would all wake up and stop playing the game of political correctness and allow us to go back to drilling for oil and gas and to stop depending on foreign oil when we have lots of our own. Of course the political games will go on.
Have a wonderful day!
Your photos are more beautiful than usual. It is hard to capture a rainbow when they disappear so quickly when the light shifts. As you were writing about the order of the colors of the rainbow, I remembered an activity class for my son when he was two or three. The class used the mnemonic of “Roy G. Biv,” for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. I like the history embedded in the version you learned.
Your furry friends look so content sitting under the tree with the fallen leaves as a cushion. Dogs are truly remarkable beings.
Dogs are everyone’s best friends!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a beautiful picture of Highclere and the rainbow over it! and the flowers, the Autumn, the smell a freshly rained soil…and the dogs! oh, some of them know how to strike a very important pose in front of the camera saying “we live here and we rule here..”. Such a beautiful place and your words are so full of love for the place. If only politicians could understand and act as if the world is something well beyond their own little ideas and lives…In Chile, where I live now, a most beautiful country, chosen as THE place to have nature adventures, called the end of the World, with 4 different climates from deserts to thousand of islands, fiords and icebergs near the South pole, we do appreciate the importance of that beautiful nature. We are educating our young people to become the guardians of nature. None of the politicians or country leaders attending COP26 would pass any exam as our children do. They are blind and selfish. Let us pray for the next generation of young people to be the ones to change policies that protect our seas, lands, forests, mountains, rivers and flora/fauna wherever they grow.
Thank you – I love the word guardian – sometimes we use steward – or tenant – words of modesty rather than control!
Greetings Lady Carnarvon,
What a wonderful and time appropriate blog once again. Have you ever considered entering a photography competition as given your gorgeous shots of Highclere and it’s natural property, and four legged creatures you most certainly would win many first place prizes! What a lovely Autumn you are experiencing this year. Prayers going out that winter is more milder than harsh for all. Similar concerns are shared with the recent Glasgow meetings as sadly our news coverage here in the US was focused more on the politicians then scientists and nature experts. Continue to remain well going forward and thank you again for such a wonderful opening to our Monday once again.
You have touched the crux of the problem I think. Too few have a personal relationship with the natural systems in question they can identify and feel in their hearts. Those of us blessed by living on the land and caring for it have a passion and grasp of the interrelatedness of all things. We may never figure out how to have the level of influence of an elected official, but for all of our sakes we have to figure out a way to make a patchwork quilt of care and change to cover as much of this precious earth as we can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the beauty around you to inspire us!
Wonderful essay today, Lady Carnarvon, thank you! You may be a romantic but also pragmatic, the perfect combination for accomplishing all kinds of things, which you certainly have done and continue to do for Highclere. You always seem to get my week going well with your thoughts and photos and today’s presentation is spot on!
Thank you Pam ! I do like doing things …
As I finish coffee after pulling frost-ending loofah vines off the trellis, I enjoyed reading your post as I heard former President Obama speaking at Glasgow. Wish everyone living on this planet could hear his words of reality. “I want you to stay angry, but harness that frustration.”
As a gardener and author, I will do my best to get more people gardening, composting, and planting trees. You “get it” and understand the balance of nature. I know gardeners can do our part in helping wildlife and reducing the impacts of climate change.
My proposal is in my literary agent’s hands and now I seek kindred thinkers. May I ask for an endorsement for my book? I would send an overview and sample chapter. Thank you for considering.
Have a great week!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for this beautiful blog and your magnificent photos. I agree with your other followers that we must do everything we can to look after what nature has provided. I hope and pray that the today’s children can make a better job of managing world affairs than the politicians and business leaders have during my lifetime. It’s encouraging that so many youngsters are enthusiastic and better informed than a generation ago.
Regards from The Other Joan.
I hope so
Thank you for bringing the beauty of each season at Highclere with your beautiful pictures. I am reminded of different artist versions of the 4 seasons. Each season brings a new perspective and grace to our lives. Love them all!
I just found your blog after watching Downton Abbey for the first time. Yes I suppose a little late for the bus!
Your blogs bring cheer and comfort on Monday mornings and I thank you for opening the windows to peaceful serenity each week!
Never too late – anyone can join whenever!
Thank you so much again Lady Carnarvon
How much I enjoy learning about those poets, let’s not forget them )
Such a pleasure reading you
I feel so privileged
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Another interesting piece. Thinking of rainbows- I was looking out the airplane window one time and saw a circular rainbow below us. Another time while in Puerto Rico driving I passed within about 100 feet of the end of a rainbow and not seeing a pot of gold I kept driving. In Maui recently I got to see and take photos of a rainbow inside of a larger rainbow and just last week I saw the tail end of a rainbow which yielded a square bit of sky painted with rainbow colors.
Here’s wishing you many more rainbow.
Amazing – they are ethereal ..and make us all smile
Eloquently written and beautifully illustrated, as is “Seasons At Highclere,” a wonderful early Christmas present. Looking forward to savoring some of your delicious recipes and visiting your lovely Highclere estate!
Happy Holidays, Sandra
Thank you so much !
Wonderful post and so well said.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The rainbow is often depicted as a gateway to truth and even revelation, such as in Emily Dickinson’s poem, ‘The Rainbow Never Tells Me’:
“The rainbow never tells me
That gust and storm are by,
Yet is she more convincing
“My flowers turn from Forums—
Yet eloquent declare
What Cato couldn’t prove me
Except the birds were here!”
Here’s hoping that real progress is made by the negotiators who will bin effect be at the helm of this (final) week of COP26 in Glasgow. May they head what you have so aptly quoted from Rumi:“raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder”
The wisdom of those words and the analogy befit the Climate Change Conference and the task at hand.
Another thoughtful post to remind us to take care of our earth and climate in as many individual ways as we can. The beauty of autumn reminds us of what we might cause our descendants to never see. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Your land is beautiful, from rainbows to starlit nights.
Thank you for your dedication to saving our planet!
I think all us are aware of needing to consume less, to look after everything better!
Seeing the dogs, I wonder if you do as I do and rake a large pile of leaves for them to jump in and run thru. Our dogs love that part of the fall!
I have not yet done that – the dogs love every season!
How are you Lady Carnarvon? Beautiful pictures and writing!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your Monday blog.
As usual, entertaining and informative. Beautiful Autumn pictures of the dogs and from different areas around Highclere Castle.
I was taught to believe that when you see a rainbow it is God’s promise not to again destroy the world with a massive flood.
I have been hearing and reading about the climate change issue since the 1970s. Seems of little consequence that some of the positive changes implemented to date are not yet enough to solve what appears to be an ongoing, unsolvable matter. I try my best to practice what I preach: reduce, reuse, recycle, and attempt to lessen my carbon footprint by using my gas-powered vehicle as little as possible and attempting to reduce my use of natural gas for home cooking, heating, and laundry usage.
Until next Monday, may you have a good week.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, it is my dream that all earths humans feel the way you do. Like you say though, as a collective, with seemingly little influence, we all need to do our bit to contribute in some way to assist our wonderful earth to survive in all its beauty. You write so well.
Great pic of the Doggies!!!
Missed reading your post early this morning, but wanted to agree that our world leaders do need to be leaders, stewards and guardians of our planet – not people who play games with words. From rainbows to starlit nights, we need our world to be a clean and strong place for our descendants as well as ourselves.
Keep preaching, m’lady!
Beautiful as always, both your words and pictures. But what I really want to know is how in the world did you get the four dogs to stay still enough for the picture? They look so happy!
Labradors are pretty good at sitting!
How many treats were involved in getting the lovely photograph of the Labradors
Thank you your ladyship.
To recognise our place in this world helps us all to remain humble and helpful in the face of true beauty. One day I truly believe we will have a secure, fulfilling life.
I thoroughly enjoy read your thoughts.
Anyway you found your pots of yellow gold . All 4 of them under the tree in those leaves. Owning a dog makes you rich in so many ways and it has nothing to do with your bank balance .
I really like your reference to the dogs being the pots of yellow gold.
This post is not only beautiful in eloquent words from your heart, poetry and photographs, but so insightful! The politicians need to have you as a guest speaker, Lady Carnarvon. May your Autumn days continue to be rich in beauty.
North Texas, USA
I’m living vicariously through your pictures of autumnal trees! We live in a semi jungle area of Mexico so everything is always green. Thanks for sharing!
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
GOOD EVENING FROM BRAZIL, RIO CLARO, 37 °CELSIUS.
“COULEURS D’AUTOMNE, TONS ORANGERS DORÉS QUI PRENNENT VIE SOUS LE SOLEIL.”
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING.
BEST WISHES MILADY ,FOR YOU AND YOUR STAFF.
RIO CLARO – SP
Eloquent, lovely post, and beautiful photos. Made my day!!
Ormond Beach, Florida
Good morning from South Dakota, not far from Lord Carnarvon’s mothers home in Wyoming!!
I will always cherish my visit to Highclere and the ability to speak to each of you! It was an amazing day!
I love the photos of Highclere this time of the year! As one of your readers has already stated – the rainbow is God’s promise to us that he will never destroy the earth again by flood. That’s a promise we can take to the bank!