1 February 2019
Proud and defiant she was there this morning perched upon a broken branch above the river; larger than a song bird and smaller than a hen. We met last night in the gloaming as she dived beneath the waters and swam against the current; her long yellow bill catching the last of the fading light into which her deep black cloak of feathers disappeared.
2 February 2019
Stop all the clocks for she is dead. I howl into the winter air. Put out the stars, pack up the moon. We look aghast and young dog and old dog both hold in their ancestral wolves and stand in silence. For so few brief hours there was a sense we three were four and now are three again. A broken wing it was that killed her the bone snapped to jagged ends. She could swim and dive upon our little river but she could not fly away. As I had watched I had wondered at the wing held high upon her back but could not get near. I wonder too did she know that death was near or just that death was here upon this damp bank alone and in the dark where now she lies cold and dead and stiff. Cormorant or Shag I am uncertain and can offer naught beyond these words.
3 February 2019
Death visits often even on cold bright mornings. The memory of the Shag we met and made bright eye contact and then lost to a broken wing and the ways of nature stares back from my mind’s eye. The guns and horns of la chase are not for fun but aim to end a life or more. And then there are my chill fingers warming inside the body of a rabbit as I paunch it for my supper; its hot blood cooling where it ran across my hands.
4 February 2019
Ice tripped out last night and dragged her cloak across the world; feather light it barely touched some places whilst others felt it strong and clear. Water vessels side by side hold ice in one and nearly frozen next then almost unfrozen. Earth in places holds the mud of recent days whilst other hold frozen paw prints pressed in only yesterday.
5 February 2019
Dregs of yesterday’s short-lived snow, snow that lost the struggle with the sleet and rain, are set to melt to earth from out their frost pockets as even this smallest of warming cannot be ignored. Lightly frozen footprints revert to mud and hold their shapes only until touched; then like snowflakes in the thaw they shrink and fade and fail.
6 February 2019
Dew sits on grass pretending to be frost; almost slicing and dicing the light like a chef as the blades sway gently in the barest breeze. Not spherical but rounded oblate drops that absorb the light and bend it on its new way turning the field floor into a trembling sheet of luminosity.
7 February 2019
Sun shines bright defining tree edges and bramble hooks; casting dark shadows across the ground; water swollen in the river slips from sun to shade and a circle of intertwined twigs flitters through the light and gloom spinning in the vortex that carries it around the bends.
8 February 2019
Chill wind springs up and begins to draw liquid from the mud; winter is still with us and yet the birds begin to sing; a song of a Spring that is to come as earth orbits round about the sun; a Spring that will be filled with their young for now nestled deep and warm in eggs and nests.
9 February 2019
Breeze broken shreds of mist disappearing across the land; tattered remains of some virginity lost and forgotten amongst the revels of night time’s wind and rain that gently whipped and whistled round about and left scraps of tumbled leaves and slight indentations in the earth; thumb sized craters in soft mud to mark the passing of this little squall.
10 February 2019
Brown snake river sluices through the twists and turns head lifting in anticipation uncoils itself around a walnut tree; full of water that is full of pale brown silt washed out of gentle hills toward the sea; the beast flicks its tongue at banks and rattles its tail at curves threatening to strike unwary travellers and suck them in to join the sludge and sink them down to settle silently when time slows and passes and sleep catches hold the serpent.
11 February 2019
Suddenly the birds are singing; singing into this bright morning; conversations and tittle tattle; speeches and soliloquies; dialogs and tête-à-têtes; some old and wise and others new to earth and air; some bird to bird to bird and others deep discussions with the passing river that grumbles and mumbles and bumbles by; questions of this place of yesteryear and next of what the river knows of upstream and what the birds may know of down; are there miles of meanders gently rolling round and round or rapids waterfalls and cataclysms yet unpainted?
12 February 2019
Dew formed in darkness freezes in the early hours; the clearest sound the crushing of these leaves by the passage of our feet. Still swollen river is muted lumpen water rolled around its banks; surface tension sunk beneath the waves and tight held by cold that throttles even splashes. Birds call and then drop silent; no conversations but single statements each thrown into the air to sink slowly into lonely frozen moments.
13 February 2019
Oh what a sparkling world that has such wonders in’t. Instead of working as he knew he should on something meaningful and deep night spent the dim dark hours dallying and dancing to entertain the ice queen with his courtly pirouettes and prancing that she in turn might twirl and sway cavort and caper and in their mutual frolic lose some diamonds from off her crown so they might fall and form themselves as frozen dew drops balanced on to blades grass.
14 February 2019
Sun pushes back against the night cold with its warming radiance; shadows closer crisper edges fading as the turning of the earth lays frosted ground beneath the heat; like two lovers touching gently one will warm the other and the other will awake and raise its head and smile; and from its cheek will slowly fall a tear of recognition.
15 February 2019
Frozen footsteps from the past sculpted in earth and pressed into leaves and grass give some hint of what was; shadows dancing between the trees beneath the undergrowth and across the ground create some thin ghost of where for one solitary moment is a moment that has not finished starting before it starts to finish and is that place that we are; and as to futures let us hope that birds continue to sing songs of what may be.
16 February 2019
Seems night went dancing with the ice queen once again and left a trail of silver round about that speaks that winter’s worst is yet to come; and that may be but trees become aware as dormancy begins to fade triggered by their memory of springs past and future and the lighting of birds upon their branches for the merest feather touch can be enough to stir the sap.
17 February 2019
Sun rises pale and wan thin and cool and insufficient to charge life so we must wait and hope and wonder at the turning of a world; and a world away that same sun rises upon other opportunities not all coated in the debris of summer storms; and where despite the responsibilities of all the planets many moons and uncounted spinning rocks and comets we trust that sun to warm our faces stir life in trees and tend each and every beast and plant and blade of grass.
18 February 2019
River sings in different tones; the swish and swirl of waters lapping at the banks as banks are pushed and pressed by waters slowly changing their own meanders has slipped and faded; rising in its place the turbulence of tumbling waters falling over rocks and dams built of debris by the same river that is running over them; and all from a growing absence as dry days and rainless nights fail to feed the waters as fast as they slip away.
19 February 2019
More murk than mist; darker than the day should be as if the sun were shrouded in some veil; heavy and weighty leaden both in colour and in oppression; held down by the hands of sky upon the chest squeezing on the air; arms of air hug round and slow the swing of ribs that would refresh the breath; and the air itself reluctant to release its oxygen.
20 February 2019
Through the mist come spider threads hanging across the path; amongst the brambles there is a sense of chaos as every branching twig becomes festooned with bits of webs as if the incumbents were practising their knots and spending dark time taking lessons in their craft.
21 February 2019
Sun bright climbs the sky training for the spring and summer; strives to warm the earth; to trigger trees to start the pumps that drive the sap; to garner buds to break and blossom; to bring birds to song and dance amongst the branches; and to catch the light within the eye of every passing creature.
22 February 2019
Beneath the trees below the bramble leaves lower even than the noble grasses the understory speaks in silent tones; within an inch of earth it grows so many species unwanted in suburban gardens but sometime bearers of tiny flowers often purple or in yellow that tell of joy and sorrow; all winter they have rested dormant and now lift their heads and raise their shoulders not so much to the thin warmth of now but to the heat they know is coming.
23 February 2019
Light seems to curve as it bounds across the treetops to silver polish the dew laden lawn; under branches to dazzle on bramble leaves; and on the water to dance and dangle slide round bends in quarter circles and ripple and flex like a body builder catching fire.
24 February 2019
Darkness deep and almost permanent that neither you nor I can ever know; darkness lived in through the winter from the day of hatching and for some unto the day of death; some sisters hatched late in the season will make it to that first day when light and heat become sufficient that bodies need no longer stay clamped for warmth but can step out and breathe the air and fly; and all the while the queen bee will labour in the dark growing new members and will only see the light if labours are sufficient that she must take half the colony to swarm.
25 February 2019
Winter stamped her authority upon the land but lightly; a frost that worked only part way down the blades of grass and left a damp and shining sheen; turned some water into shards of ice but nothing solid; just enough to warn the birds that songs may be premature and caution the bees to be careful when they dance lest they slip and advise green growing things they should not protrude too far; for yet she might let loose a freeze that would cool the blood turn breath direct to ice and shatter walnuts.
26 February 2019
A hint of frost so thin it barely registers and sunshine setting up for Spring clears it as the shadows swing away. And some hangs in and holds for a few short hours. So at a frost spot in the wood the seasons dance and throw a spray of fine white flowers tumbling down the undergrowth as if the source of the white puddle at its base.
27 February 2019
There amongst the chatter and the gossip of the birds enjoying the sudden warmth is a single yellow flower head still bent to morning; no bigger than a thumbnail the head soft bright over-lapping petals just capturing the light as the sun peers from behind an oak. A forlorn hope sent out by the community to test whether spring is here to rise and hold its head up high if true and if false to freeze and die alone as warning to its fellows.
28 February 2019
Not chill except in wind; sun sufficient in an hour or so to wake the bees and let them out to fly if not to set them up to dance. Ancient oaks connected by their roots converse of winters past that lasted longer and pulled them from their slumbers later. Four tiny purple flowers set amongst the greenery of the woodland floor a baby’s fingertips grasping at a brave new world the thumb still curled within the litter of last year’s leaf fall.