Walking -Gifts of Light.

This has been a wonderful week for walking in the hills hereabouts.  The air is fragrant, the fields full of young lambs, and the light has been exhilarating.  Last Sunday evening a fleet of towering rainclouds sailed over the valley casting ever-changing shadow patterns across the land, and pouring much needed water on to the parched moors.  Apart from reviving sphagnum that was beginning to resemble straw, this may well have stopped illegal fires being set.  Snigging was once a common spring pastime round here.  Moorland fires may look spectacular, but they damage vegetation and peat, release carbon into the atmosphere, destroy the nests of birds such as skylarks, curlews, snipe, short eared owls, and twite (if we have any left), and kill elusive small creatures such as emperor and northern eggar moths.

Yesterday evening looked less promising, but, acting on an astrological hunch, I set off for a favourite wooded valley.  The sky was uniform pale grey.  Beneath the trees there was barely enough light to appreciate the drifts of bluebells and wild garlic.  Climbing above the wood a stone flagged packhorse track leads across more or less flat fields where I paused to take in the view.  A small black cat emerged from the trees and stared at me, but didn’t want to socialise.  Beneath my feet the diminutive yellow flowers of tormentil shone in the grass.  There was quite a lot of pignut in flower.

A couple of fields away two pairs of lapwings performed an elegant sky dance -a ‘display’ of May-time contentment and no doubt amorous, domestic, and territorial satisfaction- that involved each bird looping up in turn, about thirty feet into the air, in an elliptical circle, and giving a single high pitched call.  The rythm of their choreography was mesmerising from a distance, so must have felt brilliant to perform.  The silence was occasionally broken by distant curlews, the odd pheasant or grouse, and on one occasion by a raucous gaggle of cyclists charging down a lane shouting and laughing.  I could still hear them when they were half a mile away.

I had hoped to catch a woodcock roding, but probably left too early.  Note to self: next time you’re out in a wooded area at dusk TAKE A TORCH!  I was not dissapointed though.  Looking roughly north-north-west (we’re only about a month from the summer solstice here, after all) I watched as the pale grey cloud bank began to break up and change colour.  Sitting on a comfortable rock I ‘tuned in’, accompanied by the crystalline voice of a song thrush.

Returning to this world, I stood watching the hills across the valley.  Then, quite suddenly, as though a giant hand had flicked an invisible switch, the entire crest the distant moorland ridge was bathed in pale orange light.  As the light became warmer, the illuminated area gradually receded until only a small distant tip burned red.  Then the sun was gone, leaving an incandescent afterglow in the sky, and for the second time this week, a steady vertical column of light, shining down.

B.T 19th May 2017.

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Notice:

I’ve decided to let Animist Jottings go into ‘hibernation’ for a while, so that I can get on with other things.  I have some more material pending (on a certain D.Trump, for instance) but have yet to decide what form it needs to take.  If articles appear elsewhere I’ll post notifications and/or links.

I’ve enjoyed blogging here, and have met some lovely fellow travellers en-route, but northern hemisphere summer is coming, and it feels like time to move on … for the time being at least.

Au revoir, and may the common good prevail.

Brian.

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