Life Bursting, Sprouting…………………..
Life Bursting, Sprouting and Warring
Finally in the gloom of winter that would not give way, to counter the morose grey of recession, in the fear of Boston’s terrorists, as we lay to rest one of the greatest prime minister of our time and certainly the most controversial, what do I see but finally the first flashes of yellow daffodils, the deep blue of blue bells; finally. Gosh, spring is finally here to lift our gaze from the gloom. Finally spring. As if to prove the point I see the thin but wonderful colours of Goldfinches past their long migration from North Africa. And near overnight the male bird’s plumage is coloured more vivid than before and yes, I am sure I glimpsed the sun – well only for a moment. Then I am sure ravishing one of the bird feeders is a Bull Finch, pushing its way between finches and tits alike. I smile to myself as every time I mention “the great variety of tits we get in the garden” my daughter smiles and tries to swallow her giggles – hiding her amusement at her father’s comments, unsuccessfully shall we say. Despite our amusement and her semi embarrassment joking at my expense, I notice such changes that were simply not present only a few days ago.
With the sun pushing between fluffy giant clouds of white and grey I hear a loud musical of birds singing, tweeting, calling and threatening, raising alarms as various cats from the area use our garden as a right of access to fields beyond the hedge. I use the phrase ‘musical’ as the hedgerows, trees and borders of the garden are far, far from peaceful. I witness hourly blackbirds chasing rivals off as they scream at each other, followed by male robins fighting it out with song and squawk of domination despite how fragile they always look to me, with legs that look no thicker than a human hair. Finches fight and push each other around in rugby scrums over crumbs and cake left out. It is as if each species or type of bird can only see those of its own race, ignoring all others. And these same feathered fighters are set bird against bird to win some competition which, I surmise, is to breed, to feed, and to protect one’s mate. The energy they expend is electric and the air is full of bird song, sound and fury of their conflict with their neighbours. The speeds at which they fly at each other would rival any aerial display by the Red Arrows, and the blackbirds are masters of low level manoeuvres. At high speed they brush the tips of new grass green growth as they chase each other off and then counter attack. Finches and tits chase from tree to tree, hedge to hedge, bush to bush in a constant high speed game of tag.
Waddling below it all I counted six pairs of wood pigeons who must be laughing at these antics above as, while these wars and battles of domination go on, they waddle their fat, feathered backsides over to the food and help themselves to it all. They don’t fight each other; they work together keeping a lookout for danger, for each other. They are joined by delicate collared doves on occasions with their dainty coos of collared bliss it would seem. In comparison I often think of the wood pigeons as feathered sumo wrestlers that can quite happily eat their way through stale loaf or cake discarded for all but eaten by the few as the rest wrangle for empty stomach dominance over each other. No wonder pigeons must be among the most prolific of British birds. They are just too lazy to fight so they just eat and breed and eat some more.
The apple tree is full of all these tiny, fluffy, fighting, feathered, feisty birds that are such strong survivors in their own right. I watch as next door’s tomcat called Arthur, circles the tree, unable to reach the birds and they squawk even louder but not as an alarm but to mock the moggy, I am sure, as they know they are safe from the kitty’s savage lust to gobble them down. Arthur looks up willing the tree to drop the birds as its spring fruit as it does with apples in autumn’s winds and blasts of cold. He looks and I am sure I see him lick his lips; do I detect a smile on Arthur’s black and white face? Does he look aloft and see a selection box of tormenting tits, finches, fresh for the plucking, thrushes as tasty as can be, blackbirds beckoning to be chomped upon, robins that are better raw than roasted, succulent selection of song birds easily edible if the tree would just shake them down! But Arthur is patient; he will be ready for their first fledglings trying their first flight. He will wait for his time in a month or so, waiting by the hedges as he learnt to do last year as he matured into thick set and solid tomcat stature. But even as solid as he is he gives way to crows that fight in gangs and Arthur hates the bad tempered pheasant that is larger than him and meaner too. Arthur slips through a gap in the hedge before this decorative mass of meanness spots him and gives chase. The humiliation to be run off by a bird is easier to ignore if no one sees it happen. Such indignity and injury to tomcat pride I am sure amuses the on looking tree safe small birds. Arthur will return tomorrow I’m sure!
So spring is definitely established. The air has slight warmth to it and shoots of brilliant green are appearing everywhere. I love mid spring with its vivid colours, the return of feathered friends. The garden has gone from drab and grey to suddenly bursting into life and activity. Spring has allowed the garden to become a beautiful, industrial level hive of activity. It is such a pleasure to welcome a favourite season of mine as it turns the reaper like winter into life shooting around up and all about. The engine of life is becoming revved and put into gear. So wonderful to observe and allow oneself to be a passive part of life’s racing level activity.
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