Always, at this time of year, I go looking for what's left of autumn.
Usually, this means taking photos of leaves which have survived the winter, disintegrated flowers that never fell. That kind of thing. It's my version of spring cleaning.
And, as usual, at the moment I chose (which is another way of saying the only one I had available) the weather was dull. I fiddled around a bit, trying to make visible for the blog things which my eyes could barely make out in the gloom. Not a great success! So I turned the camera round the other way and decided on silhouettes instead. It was only when I got home and looked at the results that I decided the shapes I like so much weren't, on this occasion, the most interesting things there. What I had been seeing as the old stuff was really the new stuff held back from autumn and made ready and ripe for the spring. (Wonderfully scientific language on Loose and Leafy!)
I'd previously thought of dessicated blackberries as the fruits summer forgot.
I'd seen old willow herb shapes as just that - shapes left from when seeds fell.
Now, now, I see them as the winter's hoard - not for birds to eat, though with some, like teasels, this is indeed a side effect, but as plant's packets of seeds, ready to sow in the spring - and they've begun sowing.
This should not have been as much a revelation as it was. But that's the advantage of being ignorant. The pleasure when one's eyes open is immense.
Some Alexanders still have seeds in reserve.
Others have let them all go.
Old Man's Beard (wild clematis) tends to look pretty euchy by now. The deliciously white fluff of autumn has turned into dirty gray drifts of ancient cotton wool - the kind left behind by the dustmen.
But, kept safe in the mess, the seeds are opening and dropping. They are tiny. Smaller than tomato pips.
And prickly balls of burdock are opening to release theirs.
See them? Quite large and lumpy inside.
Isn't autumn wonderful to save some of itself for spring?
* * *
All pictures were taken on 16th February 2013