Birch trees are always dropping something. I cycled home from work just now under a dark and foreboding sky, the wind rising, birch seeds flying madly through the air like snowflakes in a winter storm. It may be only early August but the feeling is late summer, the thought lurking always that autumn is barely out or reach. I noticed with alarm the orange yellow of changing leaves on one tree in the forest, trying to see if it was just a tree dying or what I fear – a sign of the disappearing summer. The air is still warm, but chilly winds can’t be far off. Soon it will be birch leaves that are falling instead, covering the ground with their bright autumn colours. And then the long dark winter with the silent starkness of naked branches until the birches burst to life again and Spring winds blow instead the trees’ allergy inducing pollen into the warming air.