Dog-Eared Page: Watership Down

Friday, November 10, 2017

Altouth leaves remained on beeches and the sunshine was warm, there was a sense of growing emptiness over the wide space of the down. The flowers were sparser. Here and there a yellow tormentil showed in the grass, a late harebell or a few shreds of purple bloom on a brown, crisping tuft of self-heal. But most of the plants still to be seen were in seed. Along the edge of the wood a sheet of wild clematis showed like a patch of smoke, all its sweet-smelling flowers turned to old man's beard...The fields below the hill were all cleared. One had already been plowed and the polished edges of the furrows caught the light with a dull glint, conspicuous from the ridge above. The sky, too, was void, with a thin clarity like that of water. In July the still blue, thick as cream, had seemed close above the green trees, but now the blue was high and rare, the sun slipped sooner to the west and, once there, foretold a touch of frost, sinking  slow and big and drowsy, crimson as the rose hips that covered the briar. As the wind freshened from the south, the red and yellow beech leaves rasped together with a brittle sound, harder than the fluid rustle of earlier days. It was a time of quiet departures, of sifting away of all that was not staunch against winter.

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