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A very contrary September,wet Saturdays, sunny Sundays, hedgerows are now turning orange, leaves crisp and curl inwards, but a favourite of British gardens and urban walks still will be, as long as possible, the purple Buddlea. Struggling through the disappearing hours of daylight as Autumn makes its way, it allows us to savour the memories of its vibrant best in highest summer. As violet’s intensity gradually distills to paler mauvey tones, it will still attract the butterflies and bees and be in total denial of any seasonal change. It seems that all Nature tries to grasp and keep its youth for as long as possible, especially when it realises that even the best of youth has to change.
In Summer, the grass is always greener, but when the sun is at its hottest and most life-giving, we yearn for the shade. Those enchanted hidden woods by oldest streams become our dream. Walking through that land, and being guided by the water, the story of ourselves becomes visible as river and wood make their exit to the sea.
Follow that water out of the woods, over the rocks and into the sand. As the tides part the rocks, salty flowers and gentle floating hairlines of seaweed waving gently on shorelines and rock pools, are but a few metres away from their own evolutions through the swirlings of acrid salt, light and time. These resulting structures which form Nature’s novel “Endeavours of Algaeic to Algebriac”, now sit in less than a few metres from each other, yet countless millions of years apart.
Such a constant exposed clamber it was through solar wind, rain, sun and storm before reaching the patient guard of higher rocks and clifftop soil. Before our saltless green grass grew up on “Jerusalem” hills, their feet in ancient time, dragged and pushed their identities as the lowliest harsh thorns and flattest lichen. As such, long, long before they could reach that silent watching place of Walter de la Mare’s “forest’s ferny floor”, they were forced to be cruelly wretched. Martyred before a green still peace could be possible, Flora’s evolution required pilgrims of chlorophyll just trying to find some solace on upper ground.
Up on the cliffs, a strange coastal ‘eidelweiss looking’ dry flower in the C21st summer comes equipped with mathematical precision in its central dial. Growing alongside its crisp clean dry creaminess, the business of wild, blackest juniper berries in small bushes and then just below, the impartial rock yellow succulents, neither water plant or hill grass.
The whole scene becomes a triumph of summer coastline. I can touch it now. Watch the sea go out, watch the sea come in. In the passing of an afternoon, just there in the sunshine, with a few hours a-wandering, the world can be summed up for much much more than a few moments in passing. Rising to the top of the cliff is now a land. Green perfection. Memories are made of this.