About two weeks ago, I was on a barge travelling down part of the Northamptonshire arm of the Grand Union Canal. There was banked up snow a metre thick in places along the road side. Our first morning on water was spent breaking through the ice of a frozen canal. We travelled back through snow at times, leaping on and off the boat to open and close locks, snowflakes falling around us.
But now, after what seems like about 3 days of sunshine, spring is EVERYWHERE! Bold, bright dawn chorus. Birds singing over the hedgerows as I ride home from work. And blossom. Blossom, blossom, blossom.
A Saturday wedding and ringing bells drift from the church, a mile distant, with the wind – rustling the leaves and laying a shimmering percussive blanket upon which sparrows and blue tits lay random couplets of ‘cheep’s and ‘tsee’s. From behind me the constant drone of a combine working it’s way around the fields fades in and out.
There’s a colder edge to the air in the morning. Only two swallows on the telephone lines as I cycled into work, a quieter burbling sound – soon they’ll all be gone to overwinter where ever it is they will overwinter. Africa? Fat mushrooms peek out of the roadside grass, brown frilled egdes, insect mangled domes or just dirty and grey from road debris. The morning’s are darker, night comes sooner.
Seasons’ beginnings and endings change and merge. Last year we climbed hay bales in mid August whilst this year they’re only just bringing them in. Late spring, early winter? We had a glorious September last year. Dry, bright and sunny. Trees have been turning in August in some places, both at home and work the gardens all have a littering of dry, wrinkled leaves.