A buzzard was hanging in the morning breeze, using the air like a toy, fondling it with its great wings, shaping patterns with its finger-like flight feathers, falling, soaring, turning, air-dancing for nothing but sheer joy. It was joined by another, slicing effortlessly through the blue sky, and the pair followed each other in a slow mating dance.
Now I’d love to be able to say that was what I wrote after cycling under circling buzzards the other day; listening to their squealing overhead as I wheezed slowly up the hill. It’s one of these great things about riding a ‘bent – you can see the buzzards overhead. But you know those words could not possibly be mine. The reference to blue sky gives it away for a start. You may have noticed other variances. It’s a beautiful little passage, one of many from the current work on The Bedside Table.
And it comes from a new author to me, though written in the post-war years. The Shining Levels is deservedly re-published, enhanced with an introduction from Melvin Bragg, and with etchings by Norman Ackroyd. The Lake District’s the place, hence Bragg on home turf.
And its not just a new author, but a new publisher in this library too, Little Toller Books. Their catalogue includes a score of works in the nature category; boasting the names of Gavin Maxwell, Henry Williamson, Hudson, Lockley, Fraser Darling and others – a whole new literary world to explore.
But first I’m off to see what else John Wyatt may have to his credit, for their is joy in his words. And I haven’t even told you of the hand-reared roe fawn that lived in his hut in the woods of Cartmell Fell yet. Or the moonlight on the lake; hunting for moths; or the stove of hot buried stones, and apple pie.
Off the Grid he may have been, but switched right on to everything around him.