Day 24

A beautiful day. Still warm after six in the evening. The sea state is slight. Mist edges the horizon beyond the wind turbines.

I walk along a lane that becomes a raised grassy path across the middle of a huge furrowed field. The earth is banked high to protect hundreds of rows of seedling potatoes from sunlight. There are no shoots showing yet above the dry soil. The farmer has grubbed out the hedgerows here, so that where there were once two fields, there is now one. All for the efficient use of machinery.

The soporific effect of the warmer day has dulled the reactions of the hares. A good number sit and lie around in the open. One senses my presence and lopes off up the rise. Another sits at attention on the brow of the hill; a cut-out profile against the skyline with long ears up-right, back straight and no doubt, its nose twitching.

I take a little while to look for the skylark that is pouring out song. I have learned to look upwind of where the song seems to be originating. Eventually I can see it and I watch for well over a minute as it becomes a diminished speck and then works a wide, uneven circuit above the field to my right. The tempo of its song is matched by the rapidity of its wing beats. The only time a skylark seems at ease is when it drifts down on a breeze towards the earth, where it will land and then run in a low crouch to its nest hidden in grasses. At all other times this bird has a frenetic existence, desperately fighting off gravity with fast fluttering wings, while simultaneously churning out melodies that lack minims, breves or stops.

No word from the south coast. Another day is past.

Christopher Perry

10th April 2020