Late September: practically its own season. Bright, fresh days with the memory of water – the downpours of last week, which stopped summer dead in its tracks – still present in corners of the land where the sun seldom reaches, still damp, the soil still dark after rain.
How the grass revives, brave little blades of a vivacious green pushing up and out, stippling the ground like a computer-generated colouring-in.
There’s a pleasant mental confusion about walking out in the early morning and seeing these tender shoots, feeling the humid air on your face.
The sheep are energised, running this way and that, hardly able to believe these pastures new, this deliciousness right under their muzzles.
The maize hangs in long rows, the dry cobs tied into pairs – a job that has us channelling crabbed old Galician grandmothers as we sit on wooden stools out on the porch. We tear off the dry outer sheaths leaving just enough on either side to twist and tie, shooting the breeze all the while.
This year’s colours in the cobs’ mosaic patterns are a pastel pink, a drop-dead coral red, dark elegant grey and a dun green that’s almost khaki.
As we twist and tie we speculate and joke about the randomness or otherwise of the cobs’ intricate patterning: a message from an alien culture? Some kind of heavenly barcode? Or simply nature in all her meticulous unfathomable beauty?