Reimagining Richard Jefferies
[…] See—the hawk, after going nearly out of sight, has swept round, and passes again at no great distance; this is a common habit of his kind, to beat round in wide circles. As the breeze strikes him aslant his course he seems to fly for a short time partly on one side, like a skater sliding on the outer edge[…]
Continue reading The Hawk in the Wind
Lying lazy in a meadow by a stream home to sheep ‘n’ cows and wagtail yellow buttercups dance in the meadow grass so high above kestrel hover a flit of swallow ... wild rainbow cast the summer breeze ‘cross grasses mix’d an artists palette red gold ‘n’ green finches twitter ‘n’ tweeze ...
Continue reading Summer Meadows
One early autumn evening, I was standing out of doors when the sun came out beneath a bank of dark cloud and lit up the weathered, soft blue-grey slate roof of our old barn. No sooner had the light fallen on it than a few Yellowhammer dropped down out of nowhere and sat motionless on the sun-warmed slates, with heads drawn in and plumage bunched out. It was as if the sun had poured a golden-coloured light into their loose feathers making them shine a bright canary yellow ...
Continue reading In Search of Yellowhammer, Corn and Cirl Bunting
Summer for me starts with the first of the Spring and Summer migrants - Swallow, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, although the very early ones of the latter may have overwintered. Soon followed by Swift, which for almost as long as I have been in North Wales - 25 years now - have turned up on May 12th.
Continue reading Summer came softly
Walking in the footsteps of Richard Jefferies ... “I was not more than eighteen when an inner and esoteric meaning began to come to me from all the visible universe, and indefinable aspirations filled me. I found them in the grass fields, under the trees, on the hill-tops, at sunrise, and in the night. There was a deeper meaning everywhere. The sun burned with it, the broad front of morning beamed with it; a deep feeling entered me while gazing at the sky in the azure noon, and in the star-lit evening —' The Story of my Heart’.”
Continue reading Reimagining Richard Jefferies
Suddenly! Some chance movement has been noticed by the nearest Lapwing, and away they go at once as if with the same wings, sweeping overhead, then to the right, then to the left, and then back again, a ‘flickering chequerboard’. Wee-ah-wee! The notes immediately repeated by another - Wee-ah-wee! Finally they settle again ...
Continue reading A Deceit of Lapwing
Songs of Wild Birds
Beatific in its own right birdsong often ‘springs the catch of memory’ - like dandelion clocks drifting in the air, catching the sun ... [a] timeless immersion within a ‘spirit of place’ ...
Mistle Thrush from the Churchyard Yew - the piper at the gates of dawn. Black swift screaming jet-like across a cloudless blue sky, the afterburn of their passing an echo in the still air - a fine fresh spring morning. The gentle purr of Turtle Dove from a nearby copse - lazy hazy summer afternoons. Or the ever present song of Yellowhammer, singing when all others have ceased - the hayfield in the early evening.
Continue reading Songs of Wild Birds
Walking upstream from the bridge the stream ceases to be tidal, and turns into a lovely clear running stream with a gravel bed. A flash of yellow; a beautiful male Grey Wagtail bounds away to alight on a boulder under the bank, the reflection of its brilliant yellow plumage in the pool beneath more evident than the bird itself. Another flies to join it at the waters edge - a female - less yellow and without the black bib - their pendulum swings of the tail in ceaseless unison ...
Continue reading Wagtail All
I paused for a moment to look out over the marshy fields - a dull flat grey-green in the late autumn evening; almost night. The sun had set and white trails of mist followed the course of the river. A few Magpie were chakking noisily in some willow scrub. Starkly black and white. I counted - one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four a boy - a few more flew in - eight for a wish, nine for a kiss ... and then more - twenty, thirty, forty - from all directions. One hundred, two hundred, I lost count; now too dark to see ...
Continue reading Murder, Mischief and Murmurations
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.”
via Signs of Spring