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Farewell to a Highland summer

The air is tired of holding the scent of summer. It is heavy. It clings to my lightweight clothes and invades my nostrils. Overbearing. I feel the familiar beads of sweat starting to bud, despite the overcast sky. The air is waiting for something. I sense the tension of seasons starting to shift. Summer is about to collapse around us.

There is a drunkenness to late July. It has the feeling of a party that has progressed for too long. It is overstimulating. An overly made-up matron, compared to the innocent debutante of spring.

The heat of the past few weeks seems to have driven nature to exhaustion. With record high temperatures being recorded in the UK, even the Scottish Highlands hasn't escaped this burning grasp.

Rivers and lochs have sunken into the landscape, like deeply etched wrinkles on a weathered face. Unveiling that has been hidden from sight. Trees that had been immersed many summers ago. Inevitably, human debris scars even these wild waters.

The wildlife has slowed. Insects move more leisurely. The frenetic business of the dawn chorus has dimmed. I am encountering scruffy teenage mallards as opposed to the balls of fluff that glided through the water earlier in spring.

On my morning walk, I avoid the over-groomed golf course and cling to the wild edges. Where nature has been allowed to tumble through the landscape unchecked. The paths have become befuddled and lost in a haze of green. The towering vegetation allows me to become completely immersed. Hidden amongst summers bounty.

Flowerheads are now laden with seeds. Some, like the perky harebell, retain the fresh breath of spring. Others are starting to show the scars of the season.

Oxeye daisies, which have been my chosen floral companion this spring, are now a completely difference creature. Thier petals twist and turn gruesomely. Collapsing in on themselves in defeat. The once perfect white has faded to a murky brown. A mere shadow of what it once was.

I can feel my body yearning for autumn. Fingers outstretched, hoping to feel a whisper of this season. I can almost smell the crisp air. My favourite season is approaching.

Whilst I await the blaze of autumn, I take time to ponder on moments from this summer. Wildflowers dance below my eyelids. My feet tingle with the scratch of grass and the coolness of river water. My mouth savours the taste of berries coated on my tongue. I absorb it all. A memory that I will cherish. Until next time, I wish summer a fond farewell. It has been a joy.


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