Day 18

A clear, still night and a tawny owl’s calls are distinctly audible at 2 a.m. The three-quarter moon casts silver light on the bedroom wall through a gap in the curtains.

Day comes with sunshine accompanied, at last, by warmth. I spent a couple of hours soaking up sunbeams stretched out on a bench; birdsong and a hover-fly for company.

When could I last find the time to lie on my back and watch clouds shift shape against the blue sky? August, in a Somerset field, on a blanket with you?

We speak by phone. You ask, “Why aren’t you here?”

.

CLP 04/04/2020

Day 14

The wind has dropped and on the way to the shop, the air feels soft. The birds seem to be less agitated in the hedgerows and bushes on the way down to the village shop.

There are still only a few leaves on the thorn bushes and their spikes glint in the rising sun’s light by the main road. A wren hops about inside, quite happily; safe from large intruders.

Not all the reeds on the other side of the coast road have been cut down, so they remain home of small birds who discreetly tweet to each other until they fall silent when a walker’s shadow passes over.

On one of the scrapes of the bird reserve a commotion kicks up.  A marsh harrier’s arrival has taken the curlew, redshanks and ducks by surprise. Travelling into the breeze, between the shingle bank and the road, the harrier keeps low to the inflorescences of the remaining water reeds for cover. A lapwing cries out, all a flap, it creates a scene, tries to distract the ranging raptor, so that all the birds below are shaken up. A whirl of wings and cacophony of calls and the shallow pond is vacated. Regardless, the marsh harrier maintains its hunting, something will reveal itself in an unguarded moment; maybe not a small bird, but a rodent exposed in the goose-grazed grass.

In early afternoon, driving through the woods to get essential supplies we slow to let a small deer clear the road and this disturbs a hare. It leaps up and bounds in a rapid zig-zag through the blue-bell plants that are yet to flower here. The size and speed of the hare is remarkable and unmistakable.  The deer just stepped coolly through the untidy woodland floor, calm as you like.

In the early evening, sat with my back to the shed, facing the sun this feels as it might in summer more than a hundred summers ago. Just the neighbours quietly in their gardens, no sound of motor vehicles, no sight of planes. The largest thing in the sky is the huge red kite, who continues to familiarise herself with the seasonal changes in her recently discovered domain. Protected by statute as she maybe, we’ll see if the game-keeper at the local shoot will allow her to establish herself safely here.

No news from my son, which is good news. He works steadily on.

I am up until quite late, then listen to the latest chapter of the story you are recording for me. It is a long chapter in a long book, in a series of six volumes, (I think). I have to scroll back several times to ensure that I have followed it all. After all the magic I must sleep.

.

CLP  1st April 2020

On Separation

Boxed heart stays constant

Old fears prowl; rattle casket

Rhythm misses beat

.

Contactless eyes dumb

Imagination finds voice

Tremors felt in gut

.

Misunderstandings

Fill up conversation voids

Muddy evidence

.

Dig gently for truth

Listen to answers; reflect

Retire to consider

.

Never forget this:

Distance forms Hall of Mirrors;

Boxed hearts stay constant

.

n.b. We are not alone. Keep the faith.

CLP 30/03/2020

Day 5

The first sounds in the grey before light come from a crow; three croaky caws that disturb a pheasant.

The wind has swung round again. Now from the south-east with bitterness unabated, it takes all the heat from the air. Sky is blue; the Sun piercing bright.

In early afternoon, up on the track, two leggy hinds pick their way through the boundary hedges before bounding off across the dry hillside.

A pair of hares race at full pelt down the slope of the next dusty field, disturbing fifty fat pigeons pecking at the harrowed soil.

A trio of red kites float over the beech trees, drawing wide, lazy circles on the breeze.

Ducks on the salt marsh scrapes feed relentlessly. Geese are becoming restless as the time approaches when they return to their summer breeding grounds. Pee-wits perform acrobatic tricks on the wind while making noises reminiscent of static interference on a night-time wireless show.

By bedtime weariness simplifies our night-time parting. Sleep comes swiftly once the RAF jet’s echo has rolled away.

.

CLP 22/03/2020

Misfortune

Football, a game for individuals with different talents who enjoy working together to achieve collective success.

.

On responding to her direct enquiry

Honestly, presuming her sincere interest

In what was a matter of the Soul

Not just the Heart

My very Existence

Her follow up shook me

“Unlucky” she said

As if this had been a card game

Or a football match

“Unlucky”

.

CLP 03/01/2020