Every now and then I like to check in and see what the English naturalist Gilbert White was noticing this time of year. So many of his journal entries, their language sparing and concise, amount to a sort of accidental poetry. Here are his reports on a stretch of September days in 1777:
Sept. 14. Black cluster-grapes begin to turn color. A tremendous & awful earthquake at Manchester, & the district round. The earthquake happened a little before eleven o’ the clock in the forenoon, when many of the inhabitants were assembled at their respective places of worship.
Sept. 17. The sky this evening, being what they call a mackerel sky, was most beautiful, & much admired in many parts of the country. Footnote. As the beautiful mackerel sky was remarked & admired at Ringmer, near Lewes, London, & Selborne at the same time; it is a plain proof that those fleecy clouds were very high in the atmosphere. These places lie in a triangle whose shortest base is more than 50 miles. Italian skies! Full moon. The creeping fogs in the pastures are very picturesque & amusing [interesting] & represent arms of the sea, rivers, & lakes.
Sept. 18. [Findon] Deep, wet fog. Sweet day.
Sept. 19. [Chilgrove] Ring-ousels on the downs on their autumnal visit. Lapwings about on the downs attended by starlings; few stone-curlews. Sweet Italian skies. The foliage of the beeches remarkably decayed & rusty.
Sept. 20. Some corn abroad: a vast burden of straw, & many ricks.
Sept. 24. The walks begin to be strewed with leaves. Vivid Northern Aurora.
I previously blogged White last August, here.