From the vaults: On the cusp (07/03/2010)

On the cusp

There are places barely a stone’s throw out of town, a couple of miles at most, overlooked places where hardly anyone ventures. I have no idea why these oases of calm remain undisturbed; they are not remote or inaccessible and the terrain is undemanding; but they exist nonetheless, and I’m grateful that they do.

A few days can be a long time as winter and spring begin to overlap, and a few days was all it was since I’d been along this way. Even in that brief space of time, change was very much in evidence: woodland snowdrops – some already declining – have been joined by clumps of wild crocus among the leaf litter; there is now a faint but distinct blush of emergent copper on the beech trees, which seem so well established in our locality.

The clarity of the early afternoon light picked out the finest of detail; unfortunately also highlighting the ugly intrusion of an area of dense and regimented plantation, obtrusive and incongruous alongside the random yet harmonious balance of the mixed woodlands to either side. A shoal of large fish, possibly Carp (fish recognition is outwith my range), meandered close to the surface of a pond, giving the impression that they might be taking the opportunity to bask while the herons were elsewhere.

A buzzard drifted in low and silent along the edge of a small copse, almost harrier-like in its approach, and was escorted noisily away by a posse of protective, chattering jays. All around, in hedgerows, in trees, on woodland floors, along the banks of watercourses there was activity; the business of regeneration gathering pace.

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