Last day of peace and quiet, the morning fresh and dripping after yesterday’s rain. Blue sky and a drift of white clouds. The mewling and coarse crow-calling as four buzzards sail away from a single angry crow.
Is this blue this limpid light or the reflection of a dream?
The pheasants visit the new enclosure, oblivious to my presence, weeding. Golden Orioles squabble in the poplars, and so many blackbirds this year that their singing is ever-present. I listen to the birds not expert enough to pick out the individual singers, the instruments of this vast indomitable orchestra.
Quiet is when bees are noise a distant cock crowing buzzards high in the blue mewing their plaintive call the cricket beneath the window.
The house waits, as if it knows. The element that has been missing for the winter months will soon be back. Like the swallows and all good things. Tomorrow.
A day of brilliant summer gradually covering over as the storms arrive from the ocean. We hope for rain but not violence, for water not hail or gale to strip the blossom from the vines and the first roses.
Earth cracked in the baking opens black fissures how deep we wonder how far before the subterranean rivers run?
A nightingale in the lime tree, blackbird in the hornbeam, a dual of talents as the storm clouds move away east.
We walked along the woods by the stream too dense to walk into. Animal tracks run under or over obstacles of fallen trees or bramble tangles steep above the stream. Dangerous for human walkers.
The days of sun, heat and no rain have crisped the heathland brown. Orchids stand like ornate daggers plunged deep into the thin grass, gradually shrinking back into the earth.
Poppies have appeared through the wheat, springing up and opening like bright wounds in the tender green, and great swathes, where the sangliers have trampled lying like dry ponds amid the yellowing waves.
The air shrills with insect song, and the birds struggling to pretend it is still spring. Pheasants crow, enjoying the heat. Already we sense the company of hounds, padding silently, ears pricked at the strangeness of it all.
Through all this ripening this fruitful fecundity of blossoming and littering we watch from the shade exulting in the richness of the broad green world.
Today has been another day of preparation. Incredible how two dogs, who will only ever ask to have a corner to sleep in and something to eat, have turned this house upside down. The enclosure is almost ready, attic ransacked for beds, bedding washed and aired, cats defleaed, food delivered, furniture protected, carpets rolled up, dining room organized.
A ripple of birdsong sun at the window a cloud of dust motes.
The nocturnal passage of hedgehogs, martens, owls and toads can be seen in their leavings. Last night must have been a feast.
Trees border the flower field crissed and crossed by night time traffic.
Deer bark as the sun sets, some things stir, others settle, and we prepare to walk in the last light of the day.
Dusk falls gently without a breath of a breeze nightingales and blackbirds raise their voices above the throb of the bees in the honeysuckle the mimosa tree.
Mist rises with the dawn hiding the stars beading on meadow stalks trickling into parched earth. Dry spring drinks thirstily.
Another hot day begins in the clammy grey of thick morning mist. By 9am it has all gone and the sun is warm. Gunshots disturb the quiet regularly, and the noise like heavy sails snapping in a changing wind, a canon to scare the pigeons. The bardage to shut in the porch is finished and the fencing for the dog pound is in progress. A small piece of high security in a big meadow.
Fescue and cock’s-foot rings the house, high enough to fence in the pheasants, towering over more picturesque flowers. By noon, the flax flowers have closed their sky blue eyes.
Sun rises arcs in bird applause ringing from tree to tree and little by little the cold stones of the house heat like oven bricks.
Another day of hot sun and the meadow grass shooting. Jays and magpies wove like feathered fighter planes among the trees, stolen eggs source of dispute.
The wild boar had been back again in the night, turning over almost two hundred yards of ditch, and digging deep holes in the path alongside. Luckily, we have no lawn.
As I walked beneath the willows, inspecting the boar family’s earthworks, I disturbed a buzzard, close cousin of the red-tailed hawk. Tired, famished perhaps, unwilling or unable to fly far, it took shelter in the deep undergrowth by the stream. It worked its way too far into the brambles to be caught and helped, and anyway, how do you catch a bird that size?
The foxes have stolen all the disposable containers, plastic and cardboard I had, and even the paper bags spread out on the grass for want of anything else. Perhaps in annoyance that a feral cat invariably serves herself first. She was waiting by the fence, hunger giving her courage.
Nights are warm now, noisy with crickets and the frogs in the pond.
Air vibrates insect cellos playing to the stars as if nothing else in the night exists.
Spring left suddenly, in a surge of fescue, and the meadow rose up to meet the sun, damselfly and dragonfly-winged. Heat baked the clay bowl of the earth, crickets sang in the cracks, and windows, tight against the dull wind, were flung wide. Even the blackbird fell silent in afternoon lethargy, and new leaves, barely unfurled, wilted.
In the woods across the stream, a deer barked in irritation, and a young broquart raced across the field, chased by the older male. Woodpeckers, pied, red-flashed, hammered in the heat, a squirrel looped the loop through the alders.
Quiet peace throbbed with noise, and I closed my eyes, relieved that both still function, yet in the bright, warm dark, trotted regrets for the ephemeral spring.
Wings indigo lace above the running water flicker turned to lapis lazuli by a stray sunbeam.
Victory in Europe Day, hot sun, fitful cloud and the birds, the birds, the birds. No migraine and back pain lessening, all there is to do today is watch and listen. One of the new pheasants and a lady friend wandered around the house together. It’s good to see survivors surviving, though I miss the old Edward who was shot earlier in the year. These new fellas are a different strain, brighter, lighter-coloured, more copper than bronze, with larger ear tufts and shorter tails.
Orchids fill the meadow, but are difficult to photograph. The light either too bright or too dull, or the wind. Thousands of pyramidals, scores of serapias mingle with marguerites and vetch, and the first bee orchids have appeared.
The old vine, trained now along three rows, is looking more professional this year. You would almost think there were a dozen individual vines rather than branches of the same one.
The bright May meadow a song to rival the blackbirds’ gentle pastels against a soft green wild and untamed retrieved from abandon.