I visited the allotment on Wednesday. To weed and stake the beans. At first I enjoyed the quiet and peace. A half term house full of three boys and one husband makes for a noisy home. Then I heard it; my first ever cuckoo. You'll probably all be amazed that I've never heard one before, but there you go. I stood up to listen more closely. It really did cuckoo, but the sound was softer than I had imagined. I wish you could have seen me, stood there, my jeans already grubby, with a big smile on my freckly face. It was a special moment.
And the allotment wasn't actually quiet at all. There was an ever present sound of the pollinators humming, the wren and blackbirds singing, the swallows wittering, the skylark high in the air chattering. Higher still, the buzzards cried out as they rode the thermals. The grasses swished in the gentle morning breeze, and there was the occasional cry of the grouse in the fields beyond. I was struck at how none of these different sounds jarred, or even overshadowed each other. I could single out the individual sounds and cries and noises. It was all in harmony and balance. Even the whinny of the horses and the low moan of the cows, felt in step with the wilder sounds of nature.
And then natures melody was shattered by a fellow plot holder, who started up the allotment strimmer. A man made sound. Whiny and shrill. And too bloody loud. It drowned out all other sound, grating and getting on my nerves. I was glad that I had more or less finished, and packed up to leave.
Olly and me have been lucky enough to see some wonderful creatures this week. And I'm not sure whether he is very eagle eyed, or just lower to the ground than me, but he was responsible for spotting most of them. None of them rare or fancy, but still miraculous to us. How often do you notice or see the very small? How many of us balk at the sight of bugs and creepy crawlies? I must admit that I used to. When I was a child, I'd run a mile from an earwig. They still make me rather nervous (I blame Anthony Jones, who told me that they crawl into your ear when you sleep and lay their eggs). Olly is a little nervous of spiders. Fair enough. But he loved the little pill millipede that he found. And marvelled at the jellyfish washed up on the beach. He rescued a slow worm from the cat's clutches. And was fascinated by its' dropped rear end writhing in the soil.
Germaine Greer writes of the sudden awareness of kinship that sees us stop and look at the midge rather than swat him. It's something I've become more and more aware of in myself these past three years. I have always been respectful of the natural world. I am a long time Attenborough fan. But I'm not sure that I ever really noticed what was going on all around me. I think I was probably too busy paying myself and my angst ridden ego too much attention. Now however, I feel this actual physical pull towards it. Maybe it's a sign of a real acceptance of myself, cellulite and all. My shaking off of a certain vanity, has opened my eyes to the wonder and beauty around me. I almost feel as if the natural world is taking its' own tentative steps, and inviting me to the party.
There are two more things to add to that:
I am going to Lou's Shoes in Penzance on Monday, and buying some Dunlop wellies. I've had it with designer rubber boots. They just don't cut the mustard.
I have mentioned it elsewhere, but Olly picked up the wriggling discarded rear end of the slow worm, and carried it around the house for a while. It did not sit well with my stomach.
Have a great weekend friends,