bowling for gulls (16/June/18)

there be gulls nesting by the bowling green… not quite dragons I know but they give a good dive-bombing and shout, boy do they shout when one dares step across that invisible threshold within striking distance of the white-washed brick edifice underscored with moderately-comfortable wooden-slat seating where one would normally perch ones bottom to drink in the long view, way down the Strait to a and far, far away, to the wind turbines dutifully lined in tidy array harvesting breezes with a turn of the screw… sit oneself on the other side of the shelter gazing westward and be confronted with bowls, truly the beautiful game and not that antagonistic football, played by gentlefolk, of the fiercely competitive kind, with the focus of hawks and a humble gentility (as humble as the fiercely-competitive can be) the epitome of sportsmanship, unless… there’s no game  to which one can turns one attention to an empty green shaved within an inch of its root that as flat as a pancake with tiny trickeries of subtle undulations over this over-groomed surface here and there that only the keen or experienced bowler will see, beyond which the bridge ever-looming and framing the scene with familiar intent… and then there be gulls who have chosen the roof of the shelter to furnish a nest to harbour their eggs which in turn become hatchlings which in turn become chicks they protect with a fervour, with cries and with screams, swoops and with squawks and the finely-tuned eyes against all and any weary unwary soul seeking refuge, a sit with a view only to find, for now at least, that until comes a time that the gulls deem to fledge their welcome will surely be less than welcoming… so for now there be gulls, the shelter-gulls, who I bet when no one is looking might sneak in a quick game of bowls for themselves………

© 2018 robert greig

duskanery (13/June/18)

the dusk chorus is much underrated when set against that of the dawn chorus, largely ignored by most as not even deemed chorus enough, or at all… it is different, that’s true, probably more casual, perhaps less organised, and certainly never as cacophonous, in a way comparatively minimal in orchestration as though the conductor has gone home leaving the musicians to fend for themselves each with their own different half-remembered scores… like a warm-up but in fact a warm-down as the small hours beckon and long ones dissolve… leaving the past behind?… where else would one leave it but behind?……it’s been a particularly difficult day for fatigue today, spent a lot of it on my back, flat out, on the floor, on the sofa, anywhere but bed, couldn’t go there, bed means bedtime and one in the afternoon just wasn’t… unable to even speak for large swathes of hours and only moving, only able to conjure enough will, when I had too, nature-calls and such… evening swooped in along with the martins, though they’d been here all day frisking the skyways alongside the swallows they were now more obvious as many day-things were winding down or ceased altogether leaving the skies quieter, and hence anything cutting through them more evident… the birds cut across streaks of dissipating vapour trails worn by hours of inattention leaving them, like me, faded, jaded, albeit these muted lines stretched at a much higher altitude than these avian insectivores…. then, literally in fact, from out of the blue, swifts, two swifts, then four, four swifts excitedly appeared as though ta-daa’d from a different dimension, sweeping and sifting the air, black arrowheads pierce the listless light skilfully avoiding the martins flight path, and vice versa…. the Song Thrush, there, in the bottom of the garden, atop an ash tree, singing, surely the best soloist of the dusk chorus here performing his pibroch…. two magpies causing kerfuffle again, as they do, cheeky ‘mongers, much to the garden’s smaller bird residents… amazing birds but they don’t really feel the need to contribute to the chorus except with a sudden burst of dissonance every now and then… mind you, unlike the dawn chorus not all birds indulge, just a few, clearly the more diligent…. it has a random, unformed quality, still carrying all the same conviction but with a more inward intensity, less showy…… the ground elder’s glowing, its white umbrellas commandeering what filtered light clings now, a much-maligned plant and I suppose its over-enthusiastic habit of taking over gardens doesn’t earn it many brownie-points, but look at it now, a sea of white waves slipping off to sleep………

© 2018 robert greig

sky-tinted spectacles (10/June/18)

here we are again you and I, under different skies, watching clouds that dream of nothing more than vapour, their magic incarnate… you can never hold a cloud to its word as when it’s out of sight it’s out of mind… you’re there and I here, miles of years between us as though somehow we’re connected by this fantastical thread… myths have a lot to answer for you know, of course you know though rarely often think about it, unless you do but then how would I know that, how would I know anything outside my own head for sure when what’s inside it skulks about with even deeper mystery… eleven days til the solstice, til midsummer, til the longest day, call it what you will, one or all or none of the above, call it just another day, a slip of the clock as it is here and now, a day it seems of little or no significance being it failed to be the one that won the kudos of being the middle of the year… ‘X’ marks the spot so beware, I have a marker pen… it hasn’t rained for days here now, has it rained there?… if it has then perhaps there’s proof we’re under different skies, that’s if you need any… chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff… no wonder they named that bird the Chiff Chaff, hardy surprising really… of course it’s not actually saying the word ‘chiff’ or the word ‘chaff’ as it doesn’t have a larynx like us, none of them do, so can’t say things as we say them, but on the other hand we don’t have a syrinx… unless you are indeed a bird, are you?… how would I know for sure, stranger things have happened, like birds wearing spectacles… oh yes, you don’t believe me I can see it in your face, but take the guillemot… some guillemots wear them, that’s why those ones are called ‘spectacled’ guillemots… it’s not their official name and it’s not recognised scientifically but dontcha think it’s strange that some have them and some don’t and yet all are just regarded the same species?… I suppose you haven’t given it a lot of thought, maybe you will now, or not, maybe under you skies you have better things to occupy your mind like why do people insist the world is round when it isn’t, it’s roundish, and roundish isn’t round, it’s roundish, ask any geometrician… I do of course exclude members of the Flat Earth Society in this as even they have it wrong, it’ can’t be completely flat when it has lumpy bits called mountains….

© 2018 robert greig