Today I had to sneak out for my walk so Jet, the neighbour's dog who recently figured out how to escape his garden, doesn't follow me. Since he is alert to any human activity on the tracks across our valley floor, I went down to the peacock's creek. It was my first visit there in 2 or 3 weeks and I was struck by the impact of our indian summer.
It is crispy dry in the warm sun, the morning mists having come to nothing wetter. It is dry enough to sit on the grass in places and under deciduous trees are carpets of crunchy leaves. Where last time there were boot-grabbing swamps, the ground is now just springy, maybe slightly sticky. Where there were muddy puddles the cracked earth has crumbled to inch-deep dust. The dramatically ox-bowed creek is low and sluggish, exposing weed, rocks, a previously hidden cave carved under the roots of a totora. The sultry stillness of the afternoon is broken suddenly by a cool breeze, rattling the yellow leaves of the tree above me.
I am grateful that I have had such a warm welcome to the North, but I am looking forward to spending winter making books in my cosy studio while outside a steady rain soaks the ground.