Dun coloured London plane tree leaves lying thick on the slope above the Boating Pond. Large and distinctive, stencilled out – three gently triangular sections meeting at the stem – each with its own main artery and branched veins. They look tired – a long hot summer – ready to crumble into mould.
But look how they come alive when given a good soaking.
Down at the gate which takes you from the Kenwood lawns into the Kenwood meadows it is oak leaves that are lying thickly in, on and under the pond which has formed in the hollow beside the gate. Deep in the pond’s mud, they have turned from warm ochre to lead black.
For a more massive carpet of leaves we need climb up to the top of the Hampstead/Highgate ridge, cross Spaniard’s Road and down the other side to the Sandy Heath pond. Here the tree-dotted slope is deep in oak leaves which surround the pond – a shore line of dry leaves, morphing into a dank layer of rotting, blackened leaves sinking into the water. But here it is tall, stark black tree trunks and branches that are mirrored in the pond.
More mirror water on the stock pond a few days earlier – a few minutes quiet contemplation.