Of course, as luck would have it, the day I decide to rest from writing about the local wildlife and environment, when I am out on an evening cycle ride in rapidly-failing light, I spot a herd of red deer. They are happily rooting around in a harrowed field. They have dared to amble right up to the edge of the local market town. They stand in the last field before the parish sports field.
The antlers of the dominant male are obvious, even in the heavy shadows stretching from trees lining the far side of the field. There is also a smaller male in the group whose immature antlers are just visible. The rest of the herd contains at least three adult hinds.
As is their way, the deer gather in the centre of clearings and open spaces for safety. Such a position allows them to see, hear and smell what is approaching and gives them plenty of options for a safe exit. Aware of me stopping to watch from the roadside hedge, several of the deer look up and the large male moves nervously around the herd, before they set off in a higgledy line towards the darkening wood. One of the younger does was grazing by the top edge of the field before I arrived, but she silently and quickly re-joins the herd as soon as the other animals become twitchy.
The adult stag leads the unhurried retreat, although I sense that they are on a knife-edge, ready to run for cover at the slightest excuse. The dryness of the ground is noticeable from the dust that these nine big beasts kick up as they dissolve into the gloaming.
16th May, 2020
So much consistent applause for this show
It seems almost clichéd to join in
But this is one that faultlessly runs day into night
Night after night
Responding fearlessly to the high pressure
Of repeat performances
With magical lighting
Sound effects delightful
Words cannot capture the exquisite beauty
Her Infinite variety of displays
Fearless artistic improvisation
Leading her co-stars on stage
With the most brilliant first, Venus
Then too many to mention by name that follow
Except, the Moon
A sickle crescent now –
Wait until she shines full
Happily, I would watch this every evening
n.b. www.napowrimo.net Day 27 prompt: Write a review in poem form of something that may not usually get reviews.
27th April, 2020
I am out after supper. The light is fading earlier than previous evenings because of the spreading high-cloud cover. Venus is high in the west.
Everything is calmer. The wind dropping, the sea smoother, the air warmer. Birds have settled into their pairs. Nests are built. A swan sits on a massive mesh of reeds; a mallard drake on a nest, while the duck waddles off with a girlfriend.
A small array of starlings is collecting on a telephone line, but there is no sign of the swallows. Blackbirds seem to be taking the lead for the evening chorus. Much of the rest of the avian cast have bedded down for an early night.
Above, thin, steely cloud cover catches the sunset in two patches. One illuminated area lies low to the sea and holds hints of orange; the higher patch, over the marshes, resembles rose-pink quilt-work. The light red hue from the underside of the clouds then reflects again from the surfaces of the pools amongst the reeds. The flat sea melts from a mercury sheen to the same soft pink. It is all quite beautiful.
There is not one other person to be seen. I am the only person walking the twelve kilometres of beach.
As I make my way back to the road, the shallowest part of the low-lying pasture is lighter, whiter, misty. The dyke that runs parallel to the road, is steaming slightly. The grass on the green behind the bus shelter, is disappearing in a wispy, milky layer of chilled air.
23rd April, 2020
The sunset reveals the strength of the west wind. Long thin fingers of pink cloud extend high across the darkening blue sky.
The sun disappears, but from beyond the skyline, sends a single red beam powering straight up. A trick of the light; a crimson spotlight backlighting an emptying stage.
Following the arc of the heavens, not far behind the Sun bleeding over the horizon, Venus. The stark brilliance of Venus. The sky still too light for other stars. No moon. Just the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Evening Star for now, but like a passionate lover, soon to return as the Morning Star to greet me at dawn.
In awe of what lies beyond our atmosphere, I turn up Purdy Street. A bat flickers from somewhere over my shoulder and twists a helix in its flight chasing midges across the lane and over the red tiled roof of a flint cottage.
I meet no-one on my walk.
Warm lights illuminate several of the cottages, but many are cold, empty shells. Holiday homes, second homes, retirement homes, investment homes, unfinished farm building conversions. The cluster of active family homes is found in the close of social housing on the right of the lane. Here children’s bicycles, a colourful football, a red and yellow Wendy House, litter the small gardens and collect evening dew.
My news of seeing the bat, when I return, provokes a dark joke, “I hope you weren’t infected by it.”
16th April, 2020