Monday, May 26, 2008

Blackbirds and Rain

Now you quite often see birds bobbing back and forwards on branches. Nothing unusual in that. But this morning I was having fits as I sat outside drinking my coffee. A blackbird landed on a long whippy dead hazel branch which dipped dramatically as it landed almost causing the bird to fall off. The branch then continued bobbing violently up and down and as it bobbed the birds head stayed exactly stationary. I’ve seen birds doing this sideways and diagonally and an itty bit up and down but this I had to close one eye to check on. It’s neck elongated beyond the range of most living necks and shortened again to startling dumpiness with each rise and fall of the branch. (‘I never knew blackbirds had such long necks’, said woozle wiping another tear of mirth from his eye to avoid salting his coffee further). It wasn’t the body which peaked, it was just the head and neck, so much so that it looked like a small black yellow-beaked cormorant. What a nice way to start a day!!
This is now our fourth day of almost continuous rain. Everything is sodden, there’s water in the woodshed, the beans have shot up and the slugs are legion. I quite like the rain. Today I have to go and pick up some wood two villages up the valley and as the wood is too long to fit in the car I’m going to have to go on the tractor which hasn’t got a cab so I’m going to get very very wet indeed but I have my new fluorescent yellow jacket I bought from halfords which is waterproof, with the best hood I’ve ever seen and I’m quite looking forward to the trip. There’s nothing quite like getting totally soaked, specially bouncing around on a trackie and holding up the traffic. One thing I like about living here is that whatever the weather, you feel it and see it. When it’s raining there’s the hiss of the water off the leaves, that wet smell, the freshness which you can’t help but notice and of course, being in a valley there is the river. As the river begins to rise the noise begins to increase. When you come out of the house at dawn, just as the birds are starting up, you notice it more - a real base roaring added to by all the little streams and torrents which also roar in higher octaves, the one nearest to us being really loud. This one, when it rains heavily, increases within a couple of minutes and starts booming deeply and despite the fact that it is a couple of hundred yards away and round a corner to boot, you can feel it booming. When we were in the other house which was 20 yards away from it, it sometimes got quite alarming, something way beyond your control rising up outside and shaking the windows and vibrating the wooden floors. Penetrating the house to shout at you how fragile you are. Often it got so loud that at night, in the dark it got oppressive and no longer pleasant. So loud too that you had to raise your voice to speak over it. But here at the Vignassa the sensation is not oppressive and there are no sensations of precariousness. On the contrary, it’s sort of comforting in a way. Blocking out all the other annoying daytime noises produced by humanity.
During the day if you’re in the house the noise deadens a bit and you tend to forget it but outside it’s just one hiss and roar and boom, ventriloqual almost and even though you can see the river you don’t get the sensation that the noise is coming from there. Then as with all things, you get used to it slowly. It becomes part and parcel of your surroundings; the wet, the low hanging dripping branches, the mud, the birds singing. Then perhaps you go into the cellar or the woodshed where it’s quiet and still and suddenly you notice the roaring by its absence. If it keeps raining like this though, the land will benefit, the ground will get thoroughly soaked and then when the sun finally comes out it will be like a jungle with incredible humidity, thunder storms and an explosion of greenery, too hot and sticky to do anything. So, until that happens I’m off out to enjoy the rain.


Anonymous said...

It sounds utterly beautiful there, I am trying hard to stomp on the jealousy.
As for the tractor, it brought back embarrasment that I had forgotten, my dad is a builder and uses a similar tractor for a concrete mixer on the back, and at the age of thirteen he insisted on dropping me off at school on it!1 Never do that to your darling little girl lol.

Woozle said...

oooh, it would give me some great bargaining power though. "Daughter, if you don't eat your peas i'm taking you to school on the tractor tomorrow!"
Depends what you loke i suppose but i think it is a fantastic place here. i am often jealous of myself!