And Sometimes Like a Gleaner Thou Dost Keep

Words by
Fiona Chandler
| June 24, 2014

The collector brings nature into their space, unable to leave its gifts behind. These are the treasures found on a walk, which cost nothing except the time to notice and dirt on your fingers. The most beautiful often wear the tales of their life. A ragged leaf, some cobwebs, specks of dirt. Or a blossom that will never bloom after falling from the tree before its time. These collected plants, leaves sticks and pods may reside in your home for hours, days, or sometimes years. No special pot needed. A spot of glue, a piece of tape , a jar, or a nail to hang them from will do. These treasures bring pleasure, ideas and inspiration. Or of you prefer indeed they can be practical too. 

Nourish. Photography by Leanne Ambrogio

This picture story by Fiona Chandler is an encouragement to stop and really see the natural world around you. There is so much beauty (and useful beauty at that!) to be found outside. Hopefully this story encourages you to rug up, put on your wellies and go exploring/collecting.

The title is an excerpt from To Autumn, by John Keats. Here is the full poem. Because it’s beautiful.

To Autumn
John Keats


SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Photography by Leanne Ambrogio
Photography by Leanne Ambrogio
Photography by Leanne Ambrogio
Photography by Leanne Ambrogio
Photography by Leanne Ambrogio