Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 27 October 1916

Surrey, October 27
Things change more rapidly in their appearance now in one day than they did in two a fortnight ago, but this is seen mostly in the valleys and the greater woods which border the streams. Under the trees you walk ankle deep in fallen leaves, thick-stemmed sycamore and chestnut, that are heavy enough to impede your way; beech in heaps in the remoter parts where a few squirrels, almost disdaining at first to move, presently scurry up a trunk and along the limbs, their bushy tails showing now on this side and then on the other; oaks as green as in September on the top but turning yellow in the bottom branches; ash drooping with the weight of late autumn; and birch becoming bare but silvered to the extremity of its hanging stems. Overhead the change which you most note is that whereas a few weeks ago daylight scarcely penetrated these recesses, misty beams now shoot through. Wood-pigeons, whirring out of the tree-tops, are as blue nearly as the sky. Then clouds come over, and when rain falls it is as if winter had suddenly closed in.

Higher on the heath there is new life rather than decay. The fume bears fresh yellow bloom, scented faintly, and where the full flower is not open there are buds under the green spikes. Red bryony, standing out of the hedges which mark off parts of the downs, has leaf buds too on the lower branches. Chaffinches fly in small flocks, and presently a hare “lops,” as the farmers say, from her form to the higher ground. Her speed increases in higher leaps as she goes, until her white tuft disappears in the tall brown grass which lines the ridge. She has gone into the turnip-field on the other side.

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Source: Guardian Environment