October: a gallery of change

From sea-swimming to the threat of snow – October in the Northern Hemisphere brings dramatic changes

October is a month of contrasts.

In Dorset on the south coast of Britain, shorts and sea-swimming are exchanged for woolly hats and hurrying indoors – and back again – depending on which way the wind blows.

Seatown and Golden Cap in a blue haze

Sometimes the light is bleached or blue. Sometimes slanted sunlight brings out the contours of the land and makes long shadows in afternoon sunshine.

Long shadows mid-afternoon are a feature of October sunshine in the Northern Hemisphere
October shadows

At Seatown, the sky, alive with clouds and grey all day long, explodes into a glorious sunset, illuminating, to the east, the reddest of rainbows.

It is a quality of low October light to enhance the red in the rainbow spectrum. A double rainbow appeared and even a full arc, not quite captured by the panoramic stitching together afforded by a mobile phone.

Seatown 14 October 2018

In October, harvesting continues

Blackberries ripe and unripe October 7 Seatown
A basket of walnuts

The leaves on deciduous trees break down the chlorophyll that has fed them through spring and summer, changing from their darkest green to oranges, yellows and reds. Colours twirling or flying in the wind, to lie dead brown and trodden black.

In the UK, clocks go back at 2am on the last Sunday in October, bringing British Summer Time to an end – but it might not be the end of sunny days.

October can bring us the heat of summer, the chill of autumn and a touch of wintry weather. Contrasts of colour, light and shade – and some spectacular sunsets.

Golden sunset over Chideock, Dorset, October 24

The same sunset, pink and blue, seen from my kitchen window in Bridport, with the promise of sunshine tomorrow.

Allington, Bridport. Dorset, 24 October

What’s October like in your part of the world?

Share a link in a comment so we can all take a look!

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