It seems only yesterday we were picking our way through the Durham Dales on a wild forage, hedges were heavy with plump fruit, blackberries our favourite, the children’s faces red with the eating. Here in our village the trees are almost bare of leaves, fun for the children while walking to school, but my mind is trapped in the last days of September. The fields seem to expand when the trees become bare. I put the jigsaw of spring and summer memories together, yet the picture remains less complete than the previous year. We seem to work harder with less time to spare. I remember the female hen harrier in early summer, gliding over the Tees in search of young grouse. I can still see the reflections in the pool of White Well on the barren roof of Cronkley Fell in Upper Teesdale. I hear the Helm Wind on Cross Fell and remember how we disappeared in the mist. Even during those few fortunate days spent in the wild places, you know it will be sometime until you come this way again. We visited Kilnsey Show in Wharefdale, North Yorkshire, during the summer and the weathered, crimson faces of men watching sheep brings a lasting memory of another summer that passed me by.