Sunday, 17 November 2013

Field work and Work work

Field work revives me, makes me me again. One morning in the field and I feel wonderful. It was a birdy day, and I saw wonderful birds! Greylag geese, possibly some pink-footed, as well as whooper swans (first time) with ravens circling and croaking their wonderfully evocative croak, and red kites hovering with tails that act like knives and balances all in one.


I could see the sea, and I could feel the wind – oh my, the wind was strong! – and I could hear the hedgerow sparrows chattering away. It was wonderful. Pity those that never step foot out the city; feel heart sore for them that do not realise their chains. Woe is me, and all of us, for if we never enter the countryside, who cares about protecting it? If you’ve never heard a raven croak, why bother about it? If you’ve never seen them circling and thought about death and what ravens meant to people all through history, why bother if they’re there or not? If you’ve never seen a crowd of swans and geese all mingling together (what do they talk about, groups like that?) why bother about what they mean? Why care about how far they have flown to feed on our lands? If you’ve never seen a red kite hovering, surprisingly small, but by jings, beautiful, why would you care that it was us that made them extinct in this country, and it was also us that brought them back and that they are a success story entitled “what we can do, given half a chance”. Today I also saw our commonest bird of prey, the buzzard right aside me. It was flying, hovering, on the updraft caused by the steep banking, and the road ran along the top of the banking. The buzzard was above, then beside and then below me, and it was wonderful! We find it easy to dismiss our commonest of birds and animals, but really just because they are common does not mean that they are any less valued in our heart. They can be viewed with great love and pleasure, for they are living and different and evolved, and that in its self can be called a miracle.

So why care if you haven’t seen these things and more? Why care? You care because it will help your sore heart, and it will ease your pains and the pains of the earth. We cannot hear her sing anymore, because we have stopped listening. If we listen, we might just hear those bells toll. Hear the ravens croak above the city din, see the red kite manoeuvring through the buses and the lorries and the cars and cry hope above hope to be seen by all.  Allow your imagination to wander. We get peregrines in cities now, although I’ve never seen one in the city, maybe I too am the archetypal city dweller – head doon, get there asap, quickly, quickly, quicker, or maybe just unlucky – wrong city at the wrong time. But even the common city dwellers should be allowed to bring joy to us. Foxes, roe deer, badger, even. Or how about a sunset or sunrise? Did you see the colour of the sky this morning? I know it’s a bad omen to have red sky in the morning, but jings, it was beautiful. Okay, that’s not a living, breathing inhabitant of the city, but no matter. It makes things magical, even the ugliest of tower blocks becomes something special and evocative with the presence of red sky (at night, at morning: who cares? – More people to see it at night…), or a majestic orange sunset: little things that can be taken to keep the heart glad and healthy. We are not the be all and end all of the world, we are but a small part of it, and it keeps us sane to remember that and to try not to get lost in our own power.

I have a red sky shining outside for me right now, stunning. I wonder what a red sky in the morning and the evening portrays. You’re going to have the best and the worst of it? Maybe I should take that as a lesson for life, for I have no doubt that that’s what’s in store for me. And right now? Well, today has been one of the bests for a long time, and I have several bests to come. But, there have also been a few negatives. Life is mixing it up just now! Thank goodness for today, thank goodness for the geese and the swans and the red kites and the ravens and buzzards. And a real thank goodness to my lovely almost ex-colleagues in Inverness and Edinburgh, and also to those wonderful real ex-colleagues that have now left the company. It has been absolutely incredible working with you all, and I have learnt so much from every one of you. I will miss you all.

However, onwards and upwards, says my head to my heart. And onwards and upwards I shalt go (via the Czech Republic and Spain, but of course!).