We have had a run of the most beautiful weather; warm, sunny days, clear blue skies and starry nights which were chilly but not so cold as to produce a frost - until a couple of nights ago. The first frost here is usually around the equinox – it was quite reliably on 23rd September for a number of years. So our first frost of the autumn this year was nearly three weeks late. Still, better late than early enough to catch out the swallows and martins. Our swallows left about a month ago now, slightly early and quite suddenly, leaving an emptiness in the sky above the farm. It’s a couple of weeks since I last saw some stragglers overhead, jinking to catch the occasional insect as they flew south east, riding Summer’s tail.
Interestingly, the swallows arrived slightly late this year too, which was a good thing, since our spring was about three weeks late. Cold and snowy became cold and dry, and the grass took a long time to start growing again.
Now the true autumn weather has begun, chill mists and drizzle. The leaves are falling into soggy drifts. Soon, we will return to the winter land, full of its own beauty and interest. Even so, on grey, nondescript days, my mind will range forwards to next April, anticipating the return of the swallows in the bright spring sky.