Through the Woods

I think it was Vita Sackville-West who wrote of ‘autumn leaves moments’ – those visceral times of such great pleasure – that we get from trampling through a pile of autumn leaves whether we are five or seventy five.

This weekend autumn has arrived in the valley. The trees have turned a stunning copper yellow, vivid against the soft green of the hills and brilliant in a day of bright sunshine and sharp showers. My family came over for lunch and a walk.

Thoughts of autumn too, this evening, as I remember my dear, great friend Catriona Jardine Brown. We first met 20 years ago at University. Cat was one of the most talented, vivacious people I know; a marvellous artist, maker, illustrator and writer; funny, eccentric, deeply reliable. Yesterday afternoon, in fact at the moment that we were walking through the woods, she died from cancer, after a long and brave illness and a brief but sharp decline. She loved nothing more than trees and fallen leaves and walking through the autumnal hills. It is with trees that I will always think of her, and it is impossible to think that she has gone.


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