It seems I have omitted a bird. Whether he sets foot on my holding I can’t tell you, but he soars above it, spilling down sound in a golden stream – the lark ascending.
As I toiled here today, lifting laminate boards so that the woodworm can be treated tomorrow, carrying furniture down stairs single handed and creating ever more chaos as the upstairs got squezed into downstairs, I liften up my gaze to the dead tree near the door and was filled wth sudden joy.
There was a bird I had hoped for and not dared to expect, posssibly the prettiest of the native birds, a grey wagtail. Horribly misnamed, since the impression is mainly of yellow, with grey tailcoat. A dapper dandy in dress and a ballet dancer in movment.
The list of actually identified birds I have had setting foot on the holding to date is: mistle trush, song thrush, blackbird, crow, blue tit, dunnock, heron, curlew, pied wagtail, yellow wagtail, starling, barn owl, tawny owl, buzzard, kestrel, greater spotted woodpecker.
Until about eighteen months ago, if I yearned to make a point I turned to the kind of prose which is found in leader writing/sermon writing. I know that sometimes people listened, but usually with half an ear, or very partial engagement.
I had started writing in story just before the break down of my marriage, following a success for the first piece I wrote (on Job) and about 18 months ago, thanks largely to encouragement from Wonderful Exchange, and her seasonal blogs, that took off and became my dominant form. I began to think that this really was always the most successful way for me to write.
A curious thing happened last week. I had written for Thinking Anglicans and when Beauty from Chaos needed a last-moment piece, I turned the ‘chapter’ into the much more verse like story.
It was beyond doubt the most successful piece I have put up on Thinking Anglicans. The story did not reach home in the same way.
The stringent Lenten fast has had the usual result – I have not lost one single pound. I lose weight far better when indulging moderately in sweet things.
All of this makes for tight waist bands – when I am actually lucky enough to get one. Of course I work (as a cleaner) largely in trousers of one kind or another. What I look best in is narrow leg jeans, all of which are designed to sit on the hip, thus sliding uncomfortably about and usually coming off each time I bend. I therefore tend to wear more formal trousers – which sit just far enough above the hip to dig in painfully with each stretch.
I can remember when waists were actually AT the waist. I long for those day back … but catching the odd old television program, I realise how odd it now looks to have the superbly comfortable jeans which ended there with a neat shirt tucked in.
Meanwhile I spend the weekends in jods, which sit at the natural waist and stretch softly to accommodate movement.
I am back from a glorious weekend with family – seeing my new granddaughter for the first time, and also seeing the now- literally-bouncing twins.
As usual, leaving my family was like ripping off sticking plaster on my heart – but there is a consolation. Being re-united with the canines – both pathetically glad to see me. I my case, home is where the dogs are.
Music by night and day. Now trees and hedges are loud with the musical but territorial calls of the native birds- I hear both our thrushes, and the blackbird, and over them the glorious liquid warble of the curlews, still here. Not to mention smaller cries from pied wagtails and dunnocks and now a pair of blue tits, moved into my hedge for the summer. (And the true summer migrants are not yet here!)
But the nights are musical too. I have of of course had ponds and found frog spawn before. What I have not had is a number of ponds on my door step. I was pleased when the first frog froze in the light of my head lamp (‘I’m not here, and I don’t have frog’s legs’). I was astonished when I tracked the really loud noise I was hearing, a rhythmical creaking and rasping, down to a dozen or more lying round the edges of the goose pond (geese unlike ducks are vegans) – all with eyes gleaming on top of their heads, and pale underbellies glinting in the light of the lamp, all suddenly frozen.
I’m glad I went for geese, not ducks.
In the last 24 hours three joyful events, the most important last.
A pair of curlew, my totemic birds, flew into my field. Perhaps they only stopped over as they made their way upland to breed – but their beautiful bubbling cry gladdened the heart.
My son George came to visit with his girlfriend.
My new grand daughter Violet Isla was born, daughter of my daughter Grace.