Thursday, 1 May 2014

I know a field where skylarks sing

Wow!  Get me!  All poetical there; in fact, positively Shakespearean.  Actually, I can't think what came over me.  A touch of heatstroke, perhaps, as the thermometer climbed as high as 15 or maybe even 16 degrees yesterday.  All the same, I do know a field where the skylark sings.

There was a time - and not so many eons ago, either - when one could walk out over the fields and hear not just one but a whole chorus of skylarks.  These days, unfortunately, their numbers have dwindled to the point where it is a treat to hear one of those "blithe spirits" as he soars skywards and drifts slowly towards the earth using wings as if they were a parachute before dropping the last 50 or 60 feet like a stone.  Twice this week I have been walking across a field (the same one on both occasions) when I caught a snatch of the song and was able to stand and watch as the tiny bird climbed almost vertically until he was no more than a small speck against the blue of the sky.

It is many years now since I last saw another bird that was common in my youth - the yellowhammer.  When walking on the Darland Banks (the part of the North Downs immediately behind my then home town) at this time of the year there would always be one or more renderings of "a little bit of bread and no cheese", as we used to think of the bird's song.

But hearing that skylark really brightened up my day.  Funny, isn't it, how the little things can make so much difference.  They say that it's the little things that can push a person over the edge so that a murder is committed.  I can understand that, but I find it immensely pleasing that little things can work the other way as well.


joeh said...

Glad a little bird pushed you away from the dark side. I think those who slip to violence never hear the birds sing. If you go through life and miss the good stuff I guess it can be pretty miserable. Are the birds of your youth rare because the local environment has changed or are they just gone in general.

Never heard a skylark...or heard them but did not listen.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Joe, both the skylark and the yellowhammer - along with other species - have declined dramatically in numbers due to loss of habitat and the increased use by farmers of pesticides and chemicals.

Jenny Woolf said...

There is something particularly evocative about the sound of the skylark. I think because it is so faint and yet it sounds so free.

Suldog said...

Indeed. The little things are what it's all about, in so many instances. I live in what would be considered the city by most, although it's a suburb of Boston (the bigger city.) I always find myself smiling if I awaken a bit early, before foot or vehicular traffic becomes too heavy, and I hear the songbirds singing to greet the dawn.