Everything comes along at once.
The world, my dears, can be a barrier to writing, almost as if it were shy and didn’t want EBL picking over its weary bones in public. How inconvenient.
I never promised to write every day, or even planned to do so, and I never promised you no rose garden. Still, it would have been nice to post a little more over the last few days, and to feel I had the luxury of time to do so. That’s what really bothers me – the lack of time, or lack of ability to do all the things I want to do. Priorities.
I am pleased to report that good things have been happening: visits by Offspringses, getting to Quaker meetings on Sunday after an absence, managing meditations daily and ducks appearing in the garden.
The universe has a real sense of humour. A duck and a drake have recently taken up residence in the village, wild ducks (“Wild? I was positively livid!” as the old joke goes) which spent the morning at EBL Towers and swam on our little washing-up-bowl-sized pond without sniggering too loudly.
We live in a very bird-couples-oriented village. Visiting avians tend to come in pairs. This year it’s the duck and drake; a couple of years back it was the peacock and peahen, regularly seen waiting at the bus stop. One elderly resident claims to have seen a pair of dodos when she was little, but we think she may be grousing. The solitary bird visitor best known to us all was Dyson, the pheasant, so called because he was brightly coloured and cleaned up anything left lying around.
This time of year is blessed by birds. The sparrows having noisy quarrels in the lilac tree – really you would not believe the language! – and crows flapping ponderously by with whole tree branches in their beaks, hoping to build a nest one-up on her next door, who’s no better than she ought to be. The coal tits seem to be heading back to the hole in the outbuilding wall again, despite their unfortunate experience last year when most of their fledglings ended up terminally acquainted with the innards of one of the neighbourhood cats. Our garden hosts woodpeckers and goldfinches and wood pigeons, with the needle stuck on “who? who?”, and chaffinches and tree sparrows and blue tits and jackdaws and starlings and swallows and house martins and even sometimes swifts zipping through like feathered lightning and screaming with excitement at how fast they are going. The show offs. There’s a sparrowhawk too, who dines on some of the above, and who can blame him?
I’m not really very interested in bird watching, but you can’t help it here, unless you close your eyes. Even so, your ears are then still assaulted by nature’s feathered frenzy, especially In spring, when the dawn chorus is warming up earlier and earlier, and the low sun throws shadows of giant birds on the curtains.
There’s a children’s story called “Peace at last” which I can still remember more or less word for word, having read it to Offspringses so frequently. At one point, when Mr Bear is trying to sleep in the garden he is disturbed by the sun coming up and the birds singing.
“SHINE! SHINE!” went the sun. “TWEET! TWEET!” went the birds.
“Oh no!” said Mr Bear. “I can’t stand this!”
I know just how he feels. And yet it’s wonderful too. Because the world is turning, the world is waking, in spite of the cold and snow and wind from the steppes, and sparrows are having wild, noisy and uncontrolled sex in the lilac tree at five in the morning. Honestly, country life is a riot. Literally.