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A Lark Rising

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A Lark Rising - Reimagining Richard Jefferies #6

One of Jefferies’ favourite birds, the lark, was for him associated not only with summer days, but with the promise of summer that is felt towards the end of winter. This small bird of the light and endless blue sky, that seemed to bring a message of hope, of love even, was one he could never tire of seeing and hearing.

distant hills 
across the vale
skylark sing

He would have concurred with W.H. Hudson who wrote that the lark’s song is “sunshine translated into sound”.

[...] “Stepping up the hill laboriously, suddenly a lark starts into the light and pousrs forth a rain of unwearied notes overhead. With bright light, and sunshine, and sunrise, and blue skies the bird is so associated in the mind, that even to see him in the frosty days of winter, at least assures us that summer will certainly return.”[...]

(Out of Doors in February)

 up on the downs a skylark’s song takes me higher 

Artist Biography

The header image is from a watercolour (Chalk Paths) of the South Downs, Sussex, England (1935) by Eric Ravilious.

Eric William Ravilious (22 July 1903 – 2 September 1942) was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He grew up in East Sussex, and is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landscapes, which examine English landscape and vernacular art with an off-kilter, modernist sensibility and clarity. He served as a war artist, and died when the aircraft he was in was lost off Iceland.

Citation

The recording by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto

Acknowledgement

An abridged version of a post by Simon Coleman, first published (March 2015) on the blog of the Richard Jefferies Society managed by Dr Rebecca Welshman.

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26 Comments
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Sabishī
March 14, 2021 4:46 am

I like Hudson’s quote, “sunshine translated into sound.” Thanks for the recording; it’s always nice to hear the bird you’re writing about. Enjoyed this very much, Clive!

Amit Kumar
March 14, 2021 4:51 am

Hello Sir,
A lark rising :- I just Imagination about & sound track so amazing with peacefully to hear.
Thank you so much for this. 🌿

Ashley
March 14, 2021 11:02 am

Clive, this is wonderful! I haven’t heard this sound for many years, in fact since we lived in the SE of England. It reminds me of summer walking on the South Downs and of course, you have chosen a wonderful Eric Ravilious painting to accompany the sound recording and those words of WH Hudson! And to cap it all your, your little verse captures everything! I’m there, walking those lovely hills again! 🙏

Ashley
Reply to  Clive Bennett
March 14, 2021 11:10 am

I also remember them on the Chilterns! Long hot summers! We need one this year!

Ashley
Reply to  Clive Bennett
March 14, 2021 12:38 pm

We lived in St Albans and the Chilterns were in our backyard, so to speak! So much of who I am relates to that time.

Jchome
March 14, 2021 11:46 am

I loved the comparison of sunshine and sound.

cathytea
March 14, 2021 4:33 pm

Stunning painting! And I love your haiku. I’m playing Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons on piano, and March’s piece is the lark’s song! It really does sound like a lark.

cathytea
Reply to  Clive Bennett
March 15, 2021 1:26 am

We wouldn’t be on this planet, that’s for sure!

Jane
March 14, 2021 5:55 pm

Beautiful lark song, takes me straight into the warm grass on a curve of hillside

Sandra
March 14, 2021 7:13 pm

Skylarks feature in a post I hope to put out later this week. One of my avian highlights here in Cornwall. Sunshine in sound – oh yes! But I’ve never heard them in February, Clive. Maybe one day!

navasolanature
March 15, 2021 12:08 pm

I sometimes wonder if all this wonderful information can’t be put into a book. Love the larks too and hope they are still thriving in the London park I was near. It used to be a farm and meadowland. Now there will be pressure from new housing for a person centred Park.

Andrea Stephenson
March 21, 2021 5:48 pm

The strange perspective on the painting makes me feel giddy, a perfect accompaniment to the giddiness of the birds announcing spring.

Helen White
March 25, 2021 2:41 pm

Another summer favourite from our walks and even on the fields opposite, heard from our garden now and then….and I never heard more lark song than last summer during lockdown! What a lovely artwork, reminds me so much of the chalk hills of the Uffington White Horse, a favourite place of ours.