Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Diary for April 1st

It is our Writers Group in the morning.   I thought I would post the piece I have written for tomorrow, to see what you think of it:

An owl came to our bird table last night.   Just as dusk was falling he landed on a post, stretched, shook himself and settled down to watch.   His colour and his shape in the half-light told us he was a tawny.   An owl, a secret bird of the night.

Little threat to the gamekeeper, on the watch for small mammals and, in season, small birds, he goes about his business largely unthreatened.   He is more likely to die of starvation in a snowy Winter than persecution, unlike his cousins the buzzards and the sparrow-hawks, who flaunt their intentions in broad daylight.

We know where he nests in a hole in the old ash tree.    Sometimes he sits by the entrance and just watches.   But his keen eye, keener than we can ever imagine, can pick up the movement in the grass which will provide a tasty snack for him or his mate.

In the fields celandine are in full bloom.   Every bank facing South has a hundred bright suns.   We hate them when they are in our gardens, but in the fields they bring such joy.

Echoing that brightness is the marsh marigold, the kingcup or water-blob of our childhood; so common then but rarer now in its wild form.   Yet it thrives along our beck for weeks until finally it gives way to the paler water iris, in past times a good indication that you were nearing a ford, where footsteps had broken off pieces of iris root which had floated downstream and rooted along the bank.

In the hedgerow the yellowhammer has started to sing - a little bit o' bread and no cheese - a cheerful song.   And yesterday he came to the bird table for seed, easily identified by his bright yellow head.   It seems as though yellow is the colour of the month so far.

On the farm, the land is far too wet to get on with the really important jobs of fertilising, harrowing, rolling, getting the pastures ready for the cows to go out and the meadows ready for silaging.   Instead the farmer is busy collecting all the sticks and branches brought down by the Winter's gales, tidying up the fields, repairing fences and, best of all, having huge bonfires.   This love of bonfires goes back through the ages and I for one never tire of standing by the fire with my pitchfork and poking back bits of escaping wood.


John Going Gently said...

That was lovely pat

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

This is the yellow season - have never heard of 'water blobs'! Re. sticks and gales and bonfires - it's where spring echoes autumn.

As far as what the writing group will think - I'm going away with clear scenes in my head and I imagine others who read or listen to it will too.

A Heron's View said...

I would like to share few other things about Owl.

Owl can teach us much: for by listening to and learning the ways of the Owl we learn to speak with compassion from our highest self, with our hearing enhanced we listen carefully to all and meditate on everything that we see and hear.

To follow Owl is to act upon one's highest wisdom, to see clearly in the darkness, to use and develop ones intuition to its highest degree, to attain a vision of things and situations that are not normally seen.

Heather said...

I love your piece. What a treat to have a yellowhammer and an owl visit the bird table - I haven't seen either since I was a child. I love the smell of bonfires and log fires. Here this evening the air is quite balmy and full of blackbird song.

Acornmoon said...

A lovely piece of writing. We have those plants here but I have not seen them this year. Ted has been ill and I have not walked him as much.

Dartford Warbler said...

A lovely description. I felt I was there.

I do love celandines in the garden and they are shining away on these sunny spring days. My Lincolnshire mother used to call kingcups water-blobs. They are growing now in the drying-out watermeadows of the Hampshire Avon. Such hopeful flowers in fields of yellow beside the river.

Cro Magnon said...

Muck spreading here.... the air is full of its 'aroma'.

mumasu said...

That was beautifully written, a joy to to read :)

MorningAJ said...

We get tawny owls in the churchyard over the road from us. Wonderful birds.
And a lovely piece of writing.

The Solitary Walker said...

I saw marsh marigolds in South Ferriby pond on my walk to Barton last week.

Nice observational piece, Pat.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Sounds like spring is well on it way. I can smell your bonfires. Something mesmerizing about a fire.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for coming round the fields with me.