Today is overcast and hence a little warmer. The benefit of cloud cover is tempered by rain in the air, but when the rain becomes noticeable it is a pleasure to feel it on the face. This is April, there should be showers!
Here in the east, close to a north-facing coast, there is no rain shadow to help the farmers. Temperatures are generally lower, the air drier. Drought is a concern, so any rainfall is welcome. Today’s is not enough to do any more than damp dust down. I pass a field where hundreds of crows are profitably flocking behind the track of a tractor pulling a huge roller. The roller is being used to break up the heavy clay clumps in the top soil. This work will help young crops break through to air and light, allow rain, (or piped water), permeate below young roots.
A little further inland, the leaf canopy is far from complete and the woodland floor has plenty of light. With the warmer air and the brighter light, blue-bells are ready to spill out in swathes, but not yet.
The villages and local market town are quiet. A cricket square has been optimistically striped with a motor mower. More surprisingly, a budget home hardware shop is open for trade with buckets, brushes and brooms, step ladders and all sorts of shiny, useful items smartly displayed in the window and on the pavement. The proprietress stands outside the open door smoking a cigarette. Has she been following the news at all? There is no one else in sight.
When I get back to the house our conversation continues by telephone, naturally. Define friendship? It does not demand constant physical presence. You are not beside me, but always with me.
n.b. Mornings are noticeably getter lighter now, but the weather is too cool for sparrows, or blackbirds to announce the dawn. The first bird call this morning was a three-part drawn out caw of a crow. A bird happy to move in the early light of day before shadows form.
Crows are jostling for nesting positions in tree tops now. Despite the incoming series of storms that disrupt their building, crows are busy collecting twigs to weave nests before tree foliage arrives. Fascinating.
n.b. The corvids leave the pasture in flower to other creatures, but as soon as the ground is clear they descend, spread themselves out, (respecting each others’ personal space), and start grubbing about searching for leather jackets and other insect larvae; anything tasty that just a few days prior was happy under the cover of the grasses.
n.b. It is fascinating to watch gulls and crows rise 3 or 4 metres on the breeze with the intention of dropping a shelled shore-dweller onto the pebbled beach repeatedly until the shell cracks open and the meaty interior is accessible. When I mentioned this to my step-father, Frank Hawes, I had presumed the seabirds got the idea first. He said, “Maybe the gulls copied the crows.”