SIGNS OF SPRING
Jefferies’ field notebooks are full of references to the passing seasons. Each year he carefully noted the first signs of spring and summer and found happiness in the visible tokens of the seasons as they returned. As he wrote in The Open Air “I knew the very dates of them all—the reddening elm, the arum, the hawthorn leaf, the celandine, the may; the yellow iris of the waters, the heath of the hillside. The time of the nightingale—the place to hear the first note.”
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Some musings from my nature diaries ... timeless moments.
I’ve travelled the ways of Richard Jefferies much of my life - even before reading the Story of my Heart in my mid teens - I went for long solitary walks in the fields and woods, on hills and downs and by the rivers and lakes, of ‘Jefferies Land’ - seeking solace in nature; questing the nature of the universe, and ‘sun life’.
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Birds From My Kitchen Window ... I rush from window - to window - to window, as birds fly quickly from one feeder to another, chased off one by a Magpie, giving way prudently to the Woodpecker as he flies down from the nearby Poplar; ousted from another by a horde of hungry Starling, flying in from the fields ...
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‘Peep Peep’ - a black and white bird rounds a bend in the river and alights, bobbing and winking, on a rock midstream - a Water Ousel, Colley or Dipper - typically a bird of fast tumbling mountain and moorland streams and lakes. But I knew it best on a little lowland brook - the Cam - meandering through a pastoral landscape near Bath ...
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The Magic of Birdsong: A fine fresh morning - the sun streaming through the bedroom window - slightly open, the red and white gingham curtains moving gently in the morning air - dust motes caught for a moment - faerie dust, shining like tiny golden stars; the incessant chatter of House Sparrow and the garbled chuckling, whistling and mimicry of Starling from the cottage eaves and chimney pots; Green Woodpecker laughing from the nearby Ash; And Cuckoo calling from the copse across the fields - a Messiaen symphony. The scent of early spring - apple blossom and garden flowers in the warming sun. A heady romance. A childhood memory as real now as it was then - For this moment at least I am transported - there in the trees and fields around - what is that if not magic ... the magic of birdsong.
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