Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow Diaries

Minus twelve. But a sunlit blue sky was enough to tempt me out. 
Walking past a field of sweetcorn, leaves like crumpled parchment and cobs robbed of kernels; I disturbed a woodcock. 
From the sanctuary of the dried stalks, the bird suddenly shot skywards, its distinctive long black beak like a confident pen stroke, inked across a sheet of Basildon Bond blue.
Still inhabiting a monochrome world, pierced only by the yellow of a blackbird’s beak, the warm orange of a robin’s breast.... or me lumbering up the garden to feed the chickens in the mis-matched layers of every single jumper I own!

Looking towards Gardener’s Cottage the snow covered field is bounded by a line of monumental oaks. In their prime at this time of year, when you can trace every meandering branch to its twiggy end. 
As if on the up-beat of the conductor’s baton a flock of pigeons scatter from the canopy of one oak, and convene again, after a spirited cadenza, on the next.
Right on cue for the annual R.S.P.B.'s Big Garden Birdwatch, the kingfisher posed for me on a low branch over the pond, the green patina of its back gleaming in the sun. 
Total bird count included a jay, blackbirds, green woodpeckers, a coot, pigeons-a-plenty, pheasants, bullfinches, and a wren, all equally vocal over the sudden welcome rise in temperature. Goodbye snow.

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