April already! My day is consumed with detailed work, but it is still light enough for me to set out walking just after six in the evening.
Bard Hill is covered in hawthorn bushes glowing with white blossom – it looks as if it’s snowed. I stop halfway up the traffic-free lane to listen to the bees. Bumble bees at every hawthorn. So big that occasionally they disturb a tiny white petal causing it to tumble to the ground.
The bees produce a deep buzz as they power their wings at top speed to defy gravity, but they fall silent when they land and start probing for nectar. The overall buzz I hear is a series of slow waves that coincide with one bee settling to drink, then another lifting off to seek fresh fuel.
Up on the heath I see some lads setting a small fire while they smoke and drink a can or two of beer. There’s been no sustained rainfall for weeks. One is arguing that building a fire is unsafe, the other offers reassurance that it will not spread.
At my intervention from the road they put it out. I bid them a good evening. They apologise and reply in kind. I leave them to their illicit adolescent pleasures.
As dusk forms deer are more confident to come out of hiding and I see them nibbling grass at every turn. I lose count of them and of the hares that are sitting upright in the fields that slope toward the sea. A hare on the road ahead is surprised at my appearance, so it races full pelt down the lane towards the village. It is unable to get off the road because of the steep banks on either side and the pace of its escape. It disappears in a dust cloud around the long bend.
Turning toward the house I wait and listen to a robin in full song. Such a common bird; such a beautiful singer. I walk on and find another exercising its voice with equal subtlety and variation just twenty-five metres further along. No cars come to disturb the performer or audience.
A rumour is confirmed late tonight. A local deliveryman has succumbed to the coronavirus. Contact tracing isn’t part of the government’s plan here.
It is close to a half-moon tonight. We often celebrate the full moon as it was full when we first met. Now any light in the dark is precious.
We are content to message “goodnight” tonight.