Sunday, 1 July 2012
Observations in a garden, between seven and eight on a June evening
I am sitting on the old bench in the middle of the garden in the cool of the evening. Little snatches of sunshine have made their way through the tall trees to the west and are illuminating a piece of the trellis, making the bark of the wild cherry shine in a fluttering leaf-filtered light and turning a few privileged leaves of the apricot tree translucent and more intensely green.
The biggest sensation around me is the wind, first in big whooshing gushes in the taller trees, then echoed down lower in the shrubs, bushes and smaller trees of our garden. The sound is all around me, gentle, rushing and persistent, putting into sound the scritchy-scratchiness of the holly trees as the leaves scrape against one another. Most of the sound is more gentle though, a soft constant, drowning out more modern noise, lifted and enlarged by bigger gusts, varied with sudden stillnesses when only the slightest breeze travels lightly across my hands and around my body.
The tall trees are like illuminated green tents, formed by leaves caught in evening sunlight, full of life. Around them insects dance and birds fly to and fro chirruping to one another. One young bird cries persistently, as though searching for his parents, or wishing to affirm his own identity.
This is the hour when often a blackbird will sit on an ariel above a neighbour's roof, or perhaps on a convenient chimney pot, singing to all the world, but tonight he is elsewhere. Often when I sit here I am aware of the birds around me, even if I cannot see them, hearing the little scufflings and hoppings and twitterings as they go about through the trees and bushes and fences around me, communicating with one another in a constant game of, "Where are you?" "I am here, where are you?". Occasionally a bold fellow, usually the robin, will come closer to see who or what I am and what I am doing in his territory, sometimes lingering to look over my shoulder and hovering near.
If you sit still for long enough you can be rewarded by the birds coming down to the seed feeder as though you are not there, scuttling in for a piece of sunflower seed before carrying their prize into the wild cherry or holly trees to peck it into submission.
My fingers are cold now but I have no wish to go in, the evening is so perfect, the sky so blue after so much grey and rain and I can smell the already dampening grass beneath my feet, speckled with clover flowers. In between the wind bears towards me the scent of the roses and honeysuckle, both blooming profusely and other scents whose origins are foreign to me. The wind ruffles my back and I watch the golden green leaves of the biggest of the trees fluttering too and fro, the branches pitching and tossing like the sea.
The adult robin comes onto the trellis, looks around the garden to check all is well, flutters to the fence and speeds off between the houses. Leaf shadows show like puppets across pots, plants and bows and a bumble bee, out late, investigates a likely looking nasturtium, crawling bodily into the heart of the flower. A snatch of song comes through the wind, comes closer and the conversation continues across the gardens, but I must leave the garden to its true owners, it is only ever on loan to me, and go in and attend to supper.
(As written except for corrections to typing and spelling errors, 30th June 2012. Photographs from other occasions)