The Sussex Weald: spiders in the mist

I first noticed the mist as I walked down the road where the landscape slopes gently towards the river. The hill in the distance was softened by a white veil of mist.

Turning off into the first field, the sight was astounding. The sun flooding through the grassland, illuminating the dewdrops in the desiccated seedheads and stems of last summer’s growth.

I hadn’t intended to walk through there but it was impossible not to. We forget this can still be a time of spiders.

As the sun moved up in the sky the light shifted up the hill and so I followed it. Ragwort is bright yellow in summer but its dark winter stems had been silvered by the dewy spiders webs.

At this point a dog ran up to me while I knelt down to take photos of the webs.

“Daniel!” It was a man shouting in my direction. “Daniel!”

The dog turned away from me and ran towards the man.

“Is your dog called Daniel?” I asked.

“Oh, yes!” He said.

“Well, that’s my name, so that’s very confusing.”

Looking back away from the sun, the oak trees were aglow as they turned their final shade of the season: orange and brown.

The mist was being chased uphill and into spaces behind the higher and larger hedges. I followed it.

The distant woods and tree-lined hedges were silhouetted as the mist burned away in the sun.

In one cold corner the vapour hung around like smoke against the scrub that had kept the land in shade.

In one final field, edged by the yellow of field maple leaves, the mist remained. There was a dog that barked at me until called by its owner: “it’s because he’s afraid of you more than anything else,” she said.

“I’m used to it,” I called back.

Thanks for reading.

The Sussex Weald

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