17 August 2009
DUNCLIFFE LANDSCAPE ON MONDAY EARLY EVENING
A field below the engine stops. Farmer alights from tractor cab and walks to the yard. His hay is turned.
I stop thinking and listen.
Cockerels. Grasshoppers. Bees. Barking dogs. Vehicles. Birdsong. Rooks. Cows. Children’s voices. Not in that particular order, not continuous. Some more than others. The sounds rise and fall in different volumes and intensities.
I stop listening and look.
Fields with deep, thick hedges. Trees. Buildings and barns. Round bales, occasional stubbles. Tall white prison chimney. Cows. Brambles. Lichen-encrusted branches of an oak tree with glimpses of blue sky in cracks between the green.
Movement comes from gathering flocks of summer migrants and swishing tails amongst the herd. From shining grass blades relentlessly nodding, and a single plume of smoke from domestic dwelling agitated by a westerly breeze adjacent to the Stour Row road. In flies which land on my bended knees and the whispering dance of oak leaves.
As shadows lengthen behind the sun and I contemplate getting up and walking, the most amazing thing happens. A Speckled Wood butterfly flitters around the thin patch of grass next to where I’m seated. I observe the body is contorted. The insect seems to deposit something from the rear end then flies off.
I lean over to take a closer look. And lo! It has laid a tiny pinprick-sized pale green egg.
Copyright, Joe Hashman