The beginning of the end

photo 1

Of the winter, that is. I know that snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow,but this photo shows what it was like this morning- cold, certainly, but bright and invigorating. And no ice on the lake. There hasn’t been any for the last ten days. There are catkins on the hazel bushes, and the black, stark hawthorn branches are starting to show tiny points of green.

The wild geese are coming back – just half a dozen to start with – doing a fly-by to see if the water is clear, but earlier this week there were twenty or thirty Canadas and half a dozen greylags parading up and down like a flotilla of Nelsonian men o’ war.

And the robin. I haven’t seen him since before Christmas, but I’ve heard him once or twice. Now he has a rival. There’s another robin in a thicket on the other side of the lake and the two of them are in full song every morning. It’s marking territory, of course. I can never comprehend how such a tiny bird can make such a loud noise.

The heron has returned. Now that is a real sign that things are getting better. We have at least one heron every morning from spring to late autumn. I can’t say for sure that it’s the same one every time because sometimes there are two, or even three of them, working the shoreline.


There’s something prehistoric about the heron. It’s so untidy, so unlikely, with those strangely jointed legs and that long, deadly beak. They live mainly on fish, but I’ve seen a heron take three little ducklings, one after the other, while the mother watched, bewildered and perplexed.

I think even the dog smells spring in the wind. He insisted on bringing a great branch home with him this morning.

photo 3

So I don’t care if it snows tomorrow. Things are changing. Here we go again.


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