Friday, 28 August 2015

Two positive indicators

When so much in our world is unpredictable, you can always rely on the countryside to respond faithfully to the seasons.  As we inch towards the end of summer, the harvest began yesterday. This morning Tilly and I were able to walk round one of our favourite fields. They haven't baled up the straw yet, and it lay in long, soft pillows.  I could have thrown myself in one, but I had only just got out bed!  
The modern combine harvester, or combinester as my daughter called them when she about six, is a very sophisticated beast.  The driver now has a computer screen, with GPS, probably a sound system, and sits on a padded seat in an air conditioned cab, protected from the elements -  all a far cry from the farm worker of days gone by!
In the small lake, in one corner of the field, there were four pink patches of amphibious bistort, bobbing about on the ripples, as the wind blew across the water.
Along the western edge of the field, gathering on the telegraph wires, were dozens of swallows and house martins.  Another reliable indicator that summer is drawing to a close.  The birds chattered, excitedly, as they lined up along the wire.  They looked like notes on a musical score.  There was a sense of the departures hall in an airport.  I know that these bold little souls will soon be setting off on a long-haul flight, crossing continents, flying above seas, cities, war zones, to far away places.  I had a sense of fear and trepidation for them, a few tears for their leaving and the end of summer, and an overwhelming sense of admiration for their unswerving resolve to do what they must, come what may. 
Brave little miracles, I bid you farewell, fair winds for your journeying, and a safe return next spring.

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