Sunday, 7 March 2010

Fond climates

Ponder if you will, the following words:

"A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me"

A poem by Dylan Thomas to celebrate his "thirtieth year to heaven" but take out the October and it quite easily transfers to Spring.

As I stopped in the spinney this morning to unlock the reserve gate, beneath blue skies there were indeed Blackbirds singing and a Springful of larks over the marsh - poetic yes, but Spring does have the power to increase the levels of emotion in us all, it promises so much. Sand Martins and Wheatears were sighted in the West Country yesterday and excitement increases. All of a sudden every little brown job on a fence post makes goose bumps rise on your arms in the hope that it is a Wheatear and not just a Meadow Pipit, a lone Starling flying at distance can look surprisingly like that first Swallow.

Arriving on the reserve I sat in the car to listen to the news on the radio and watched a ring-tail Hen Harrier glide along the ditch alongside me and was in awe as it passed by me at only ten yards distance, such beauty.

March never ceases to amaze me as well for its ability to dry out the ground. Just one week after last Sunday's deluge and flooding and the daily drying east winds and sunshine have had a considerable effect on the saturated ground. Its not massive, but all of a sudden yellow and waterlogged grass is beginning to appear as water levels on flooded pasture recedes and ditches flow less fast. Bird numbers are also dropping fast as the winter visitors move away and very soon we will be in that interrum period between winter and summer visitors and interest instead fixes on those early breeders. Lapwings will make the first scrapes in waterlogged turf and Coots will build nests in reeds, nests that in a month's time will look ridiculous as they sit two foot above the water levels.

Spring is indeed a fond climate and one that its worth living through a winter to arrive at!


  1. Derek ,
    I thought at the begining of your post that you had pulled an early cork as it was Sunday , then realised you were quoting that Welsh bloke .
    I agree , it's amazing how things have dried out in a week , let's hope it stays like it .

  2. Greenie,

    Perhaps surprisingly, I do not need to pull an early cork in order to quote one of my hero's, that welsh bloke Dylan Thomas. A man himself who was well known for his inebriated renditions.
    No, I pulled the cork after my posting.

  3. "Those craning birds are choice for you, songs that jump back
    To the built voice, or fly with winter to the bells,
    But do not travel down dumb wind like prodigals."

  4. Tony, "The Spire Cranes" - how about:

    "And as I was green and carefree, famous amongst the barns
    About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
    In the sun that is young once only,
    Time let me play and be
    Golden in the mercy of his means...."