Autumn days

I’ve just received a message from a friend ‘down-under’ who is looking forward to springtime and the opportunities it brings.

Here in the UK we’re well into autumn – a wonderful time of change and transformation as nature winds down after a full and active summer.

We might already be grieving for those long, warm summer days; now the days shorten and the evenings seem to darken so quickly.

But it is a good time to take stock. A new academic year has begun and many young people face new opportunities and new challenges. Just as we tidy our gardens, raking up leaves, pruning over-exuberant growth and, perhaps, planting bulbs for next spring, so it is a good time to check out what is going on in our own lives.

Child gathering leaves in handcart
Like children, we need to gather and explore options

Are there areas that need review? Is it time to make a change? Take an evening class, try out a new exercise regime, make some changes to our diet or health regime? Or simply to be thankful for where we are, to enjoy it and make the most of it – for ourselves and those around us?

As the evenings lengthen and we spend more time indoors, consider reading a book, listening to a favourite piece of music or learning a poem. Don’t let the TV dominate; give social media a rest; have a face-to-face conversation without distraction.

As we pass the autumnal equinox, when the days and nights are of equal length, let the seasonal change happen. Here in the UK the clocks go back – the evening dark draws on rather quickly. But we can look forward to cold crisp days when walking can be bracing. We can enjoy the rain – many of us had little enough of it in the summer! Get outside whenever you can and sniff the air and feel the temperature. Relish the contrasts affecting all the senses and just enjoy…

Lane passing through trees in autumn
Autumn – a good time for new wanderings

And just remember, if you do find the idea of autumn and winter a little overpowering and dunting, just remember those words of Percy Bysshe Shelley in his poem ‘Ode to the West Wind’

if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Sermons in stones…

‘And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.’

William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, scene 1

Running water over stones and rocks
Rocks and stones in a Scottish running brook

Many years ago, a relation of mine was enjoying attending calligraphy classes. That Christmas we all received bookmarks, each one inscribed with a memorable phrase or anecdote.

Mine displayed this verse from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. It seems to sum up my feelings about the world around me and in which we live. Once we get ‘off the beaten track,’ there is so much to discover and value; so much that can enhance our lives and our appreciation and understanding of the world in which we live.

Trees – listen to the sounds made by the wind as it passes through leaves, twigs and branches. Rattle, rustle. The soft whisper as a solitary leaf floats to the ground, released from its anchor at the end of the season, as autumn draws on, slumber settles on all growing things. 

Framework of spring leaves against blue sky
Spring leaves and blossom dancing against a blue sky

Or in late spring, when the tree is in proud new leaf-flourish. A breeze plays through the leaves and makes them dance with hope, anticipation and expectation of the summer months to come.

Continue wandering through the trees and we might encounter a running brook. See how it ripples, trickles and wanders between pebbles, rocks, overhanging branches and undergrowth. Hear the different murmurings as it encounters obstacles on its way. What does it sing or whisper to you?

Water tumbling over rocks
Water tumbling over rocks

When in full spate the brook might proclaim joyfully – a chorus of bubbling, rushing, laughing jubilation.

Or, if the season is dry, it might be the merest trickle, creeping its way gently, lazily, sleepily.

Then, in the depths of winter we might find it frozen, paralysed in ice and frost. Strange shapes and structures caught in the act of motion and held captive until warmth should return.

Water rippling through ice
Stream rippling beneath ice

Further on in our wandering – we may come across a stony beach, by river, lake or sea.

There’s a scrunch as we step onto the stony, pebbly surface. A scratchy scraping sound as one stone rubs against another. The uncertain footing – yes, it’s hard work walking in stones!

But pause for a moment and pick one up. Feel its weight, the state of its surface. Smooth? Rough? Abrasive? What colour is it? How does it feel as it sits in your hand? How many years has that stone seen? Was it washed up to that particular point one day, or has it been there forever? What stories might it tell…?

Wet stones glistening in sun
Sea-washed stones glistening in sunlight

Returning from our walk, our ‘time out’, and having allowed ourselves to rest and reflect on simple things – things encountered so often we might take them for granted – we might then feel more able to perceive the ‘good in everything’ which can so enhance our lives and remind us of the joy, beauty and blessing there is to be had in so much around us.

Starting the Journey


Welcome to my Perching Post.

Life is a  fascinating journey; we may set out with a plan – route map, itinerary and compass (or sat nav) at the ready but we never know what’s round the next corner. 

Like the pilgrims of old, who’d set out on a quest to find what was important to them – it might be a place or a person – they had to undertake the journey.

As do we all.

Path along mountain ridge with hills in the distance.
‘The steep and rugged pathway…’

There’s a proverb that says, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’ first found in the Tao Te Ching, a classical Chinese Taoist text usually credited to Laozi and probably written between the 4th and 6th century BC. 

As with every journey we need to take time out to refresh and re-energise.

To ‘perch’ every now and then.

I hope that the posts you’ll find on this site will help you relax, refresh and re-invigorate so you can continue your own amazing pilgrimage.