September Senses

I am a little out of breath. I have walked up the steep hill of Samson Hill, along the well-trodden path of worn away grass and moss, edged by creeping brambles and the spikiest gorse you can imagine. Now I am at the summit of this little mountain. It has been a hot day. In the shallows and sheltered spots the air doesn't move and heat hangs heavy, but here, high up into the open sky, I gulp a great lungful of cool, refreshing evening breeze.


In my flip flops I pick my way carefully over the last of the uneven, rocky ground to sit upon a large granite boulder. It is hard, rough and cool but on its top has a smoothed out bowl, just the right size for my bottom, made, I think, by the hundreds of years worth of rain that have washed across its surface.

This little rock, upon this little mountain, sits upon the little island I call home. Completely surrounded by water. Water that is turquoise, moss green, emerald and silver all at once. Looking over the edge of this little mountain I peer down through the steep slope of dying bracken, crispy and brown like old rusting machinery, twisted in rolling heaps. Peer down over gorse and tumbling brambles, bursting with ripe purple fruit. On the rock beside mine a large splatter of purple bird poo, someone else likes to gorge on these tasty autumn treats. I reach out, pluck a berry from its defensive thorns. It tastes a little sweet, a little sharp, warm and earthy. I poke out my tongue and see the purple staining from the corner of my eye.


I hear nothing except the wind as it blows like breath over an open bottle across my ears. Then the familiar high pitched pew of a pair of oyster catchers as they wing this way and that, flashes of black and white and orange, before settling on the rocks below.


I stand, stretch and breathe. Head down to the strandline and the sea, back down the steep path. Evening light catches silver-thread webs, spear-spun by the goose summer spiders from thorny spike to thorny spike.


From this little mountain path I watch the sun sink slowly towards the sea, lighting the world in gold, silver and long-shifting shadows. I quicken my step to reach the sea for a swim before darkness falls.


Water, deep and cool and clear, soothes the days heat from body and soul. The cold runs through my hair and chills my scalp, pinching the forehead.


Autumn is full of light, colour, tastes, smells and sounds that only exist in the month of September. It's a magical month for the senses and one of my favourites on Bryher. Close your eyes and imagine those places that you love best, conjure them up through your senses and bring them to life in your mind.

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