Of haws, herons and hawks

Richard Lutz takes in the autumn. 




It’s as if someone…someone upstairs…has turned on the lights. The first cold weather creates colour in the hardwoods of the Wyre Forest near Bewdley. Throughout its ten square miles, the oak, beech and birch turn yellow, rusty chrome and gold.

The winds will come, then the cracking frost and then the leaves will shake down onto the tracks and forest bed. Today though, even with the rain and mud, the forest is quiet (the rain helps) with the looping Dowles Brook drawing a curved line on its floor. Somewhere, maybe toward the Severn, there’s a whine of chainsaws.

It’s overcast and wet and contrasts with another day, earlier, way north, when the sky was cobalt blue, as blue as my father’s eyes. The air as fresh as clean laundry. And haws, from the hawthorn hedges, in a ripe mood.


I guess you can make haws into syrup, jam and even wine. But though they look delicious on the branches, red against that blue sky, I wouldn’t want to eat them. But the birds stuff themselves.

I stop in a corner of the field. Sheep stand mute, dumb and static. There’s a rustle in the woods of a cottontail deer and a hawk roams overhead. Buzzards join in the circling. A heron suddenly and silently takes off from a field into a high tree. Crazy-sounding pheasants squawk and scurry for cover. On the sea beyond the fields a queue of swans head south, following the curve of the shore.

It won’t be long before the trees and hedges are bare. Then asleep. And then an early awakening in the late winter of snowdrops and early crocuses.



4 thoughts on “Of haws, herons and hawks

Comments are closed.