13 September 2015

Cheshire: The changing seasons

‘Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.’ Poet Stanley Horowitz wrote that 18-word poem more than 30 years ago and, since it was published in the November 1983 Reader’s Digest, his words have apparently been quoted more than 1,630,001 times on websites around the world (and that count was back in November 2011). Well, Mr Horowitz, I’m adding one more website to your list because I truly appreciate the wisdom of those 18 words.

One of the things I noticed most during my recent return to Cheshire was the late summer lushness everywhere I walked. And the differences, when I compared what I was photographing in early September 2015 with the images I had taken during my previous visit, the six months from late autumn November 2014 to early spring in April 2015, were quite simply phenomenal.

The moat around Holford Hall, in winter, spring and summer
Now, some of you might think, ‘So what? It’s the seasons. It happens every year.’ Well, let me tell you that, when you come from a more temperate climate like that in Auckland, New Zealand, where the seasonal changes are much less noticeable, the variations in the seasons in Britain are nothing short of sensational.

Those of you who live in harsh climates, where the seasonal changes are very pronounced, probably take all this for granted. Well, you shouldn’t! You really need to open your eyes and appreciate the beauty that each passing season brings. Admire the etching of a single winter-bare tree in a snow-touched landscape. Cherish the miraculous watercolour of wildflowers emerging in springtime. Applaud summer’s brash and brazen oils painted in bold strokes upon the earth. And marvel at the miraculous mosaic of autumn trees.

As Spanish philosopher, novelist and poet George Santayana famously wrote, ‘To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.’

I hope my photos give a taste of what I’m talking about …

Autumn, winter and summer in a cultivated woodland near Pickmere

Spectacular autmn colours, winter (with partly frozen lake) and summer at Tatton Park, Knutsford

Winter, spring growth, then summer lushness on a track leading up to a railway bridge near Holford Hall

My favourite: winter snows, spring daffodils, then summer leafiness at the lime avenue at Great Budworth

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