Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Almost new-moon walking

The sun begins to set over the river. The dusk chorus - the songs, the calls, of blackbirds, sparrows, ducks, swans, geese - echoes over the water. A million midges leave for the air and bite a million times. The light softens, spotlight to haze.

Within half an hour, the birds wish each other good night. The sun slides to the horizon before falling behind the trees. Lights flick on in narrow boats, on fishermen's bite alarms; fire crackles under a bridge where a family cook dinner.

The river becomes a lake and opens to the horizon. Canadian Geese land for the evening - but still have energy to chase each other in circles. Blossom floats on the light breeze and passes through another swarm of dining midges. A couple approach, salute and wander on - homes to go to. An evening stroll.

A little further, a goose bobs along. Lost? Lonely? Happy on the river by himself. He sits on clouds and glides, creating wrinkled ripples.

Now day is saying good night and night is saying good day. Clouds take on pink and peach hues. Two foxes and a deer creep from beside bramble just one hundred yards apart. They stare until scared then dash away - a leap, a dart and gone.

A weir crashes through shadows under a faded sky. Like pastel, colours create layers. A light blue, a slight purple, heavy greens, dirty browns. Birds are still singing - a blackbird gives a final call before silence, as the lake returns to calm.

Three rabbits appear by the picnic tables. They chase and stop and stare and hop. Each a cheeky glance. But a footstep takes them back into the woods, back to their other lives. Soon darkness has taken the sky and the river.

Just the odd light of a fisherman, the glow of a narrow boat, the crash of late-night mallard breaks the scene. I lay on a bench and stare at the night sky. The moonless sky - the waning crescent beyond its nightshift. One, two, ten, one hundred, thousand, million stars sparkle as dots in another world. Tonight, Earth is more than enough.

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