Saturday, 8 July 2017

Differences and Samenesses.

Something is happening to the wildlife profile down in the Shire. This is the twelfth summer I’ve spent here and the first in which I haven’t seen a single house martin. They’re usually the most prolific of the summer visitors from Africa, but this year not a one. And there are far fewer swallows than usual, too.

One swallow does not a summer make, runs the old adage. So what does fewer than usual mean? Climate change?

On the other hand I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before, like the big orange butterfly I spotted through the window a few days ago, and that unusually big snail with the aubergine shell and black body that I mentioned on the blog, and the big brown slug I saw last night which was so fat it was almost circular. And tonight I saw a heavy-bodied moth which moved with fast, frantic movements quite different from the flitting, laid back flight of the other moths. Is this only the beginning, I wonder.

But at least most of the flowers are showing themselves more or less on cue. At the moment it’s sweet pea time. Twelve years of passing through sweet pea time gives you a reassuring sense of the cyclical nature of life. For that’s how I perceive time these days: by daffodil time and sweet pea time and Himalayan honeysuckle time. Christmastime is a mere human artifice.

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