Listening : Toby Hay “The Gathering”
Winter Solstice is almost upon us. The days are shortening. Today is dull with leaden skies,not particularly cold and there is no wind.I love these days , everything is still, there is time for reflection and preparation for the Solstice. There is still time to complete the clearing of old patterns and possessions of the old year. It’s time to look forward to new opportunities.It’s late afternoon and we are walking above Lathkil Dale.In the distance mist is forming over Bradford Dale. The grey skies are suddenly full of starlings heading to roost not just hundreds, there are thousands swirling above our heads. A breathtaking spectacle as they head for the roost. We have a laugh at odd stragglers who have missed the main flocks. Back home our seasonal lights greet us cheerily!
A misty morning greets us as we rise but soon the mist takes on a pink glow as the last day of Autumn breaks through. The day is glorious . There is no wind and the turning colour of the trees is breathtaking. Sunset is 4-30pm and is right on time so as the day recedes we head out one last time. Heading for “The Owl Bench” in the dusk we are blessed. Three Little Owls perched on three fence posts silhouetted against the fading light ! Later in the dark we hear them calling across the hidden fields. Farmer John sees us at the bench taking in the stillness.I remark how special tonight is and he agrees and optimistically reminds us that December 21 is not far away! ” It begins to draw out again lad” he grins before driving off. We are left to muse on our attempts to keep in step with the rhythm of nature and not be bound by man’s frenetic calendar. The stillness is tangible now and the atmosphere is that of the mystical “thin times”. Odd sounds in the air, a rooks call, a sheep bleats and a dog barks in the distance. Returning back in the dark the candles left in the garden guide us home .Time to light the fire in the hearth, winter is coming.
Listening George Winston “Autumn”
Out on the edgelands near Minninglow ,a blustery west wind whipped around us . Sunlight on the distant Eastern moors and clouds scudding over our heads. As we turned for home the skies cleared above us and the sun was actually warm. As usual solitary crows passed back and forth and we stopped to watch a large gathering of Rooks squabbling in a field .It was then about 500 starlings rose up unexpectedly before us . Against the sunlight their wings became slivers of silver shining in the air.A magical moment and our first serious murmeration of the Autumn.
Mrs H in her element…
Listening : Francois Couturier ” Nostalghia- Song for Tarkovsky”
Our visiting friend Maarit from Helsinki will soon be heading home so it seemed prudent to visit Arbor Low with her as she has fallen in love with the ancient Peak District. The Spirits blessed us with a magnificent afternoon just perfect for an intervention to honour the arrival of October. Our companions were a large gathering of Rooks who were feasting on a nearby freshly harrowed field. Arguing and bickering the would explode into the sky like living graffiti before settling back down to feed.
Our evening walk is a bit of a ritual.”let’s go see the owl”.Sadly the owl, a Barn Owl , no longer lives in the dilapidated barn about a mile away. Now where abouts unknown I fear the worst. Sometimes at dusk we do encounter a pair of Little Owls .This evening the sunset is almost beyond description once again. Purple,pink and then a fiery orange the whole sky seems on fire and then gone. Nature is always speaking to us ,calling us to wonder but all too often we are just not listening.