The First Frost

…… crisps the grass, hopefully marking the coming end of the growing season though the mower needs another trundle yet.

From the far side of the valley floor the shade recedes and the sun creeps ever closer as it rises from the hill behind me.  Already the turbines are limned, blades strobing back the rays, and truck windscreens flash and reflect as the commuter hour builds.

Down below, in shade yet, there is movement, and I reach for the glasses.  And three score and ten lapwings rise to greet the sun.   Together they dance, a mini-murmuration, metronomic wings marking the beat.  They rise and swoop, then they spread, flying towards me, in formation, a level plane, sights trained it seems.  One rises, a solo rebel.  Then together the flock veers right, closing ranks once again, twisting, turning together.

And all the time the sun is closing on the summit, until, suddenly it seems, we are all bathed, as if the frost has never been; morning due.

It is what is known, in these parts, as A Grasshopper Day.  A rare event indeed it seems, after squalls and gales and torrents; and flooded inboxes.  Time has been precious, and remains so.  For we have to be at school later, a little musical recitation; massed glocks, twanged guitars.  There was school too yesterday, and a first solo from Girl Urchin, sung beautifully as eyes moistened, and not just granny’s.  There will be a dvd no doubt.

And before then I have to pay a call on Mr Lidl the greengrocer.  Which reminds me that said Urchin had her first introduction to Walton’s Mountain the other day, and Ike Godsey who ran a real village store.  We drew the line at the Little House on the Prairie, interrupted by the dinner gong.  Have you caught up with True Entertainment yet – it was M.A.S.H. last night, and Hotlips and Radar.

But before we digress further into reminiscences it was, I was saying, A Grasshopper Day.  Fingers had to get used to fumbling for the gear shift, through full gloves.  The songs of the hedges were muted, ears protected.  Before the chill had even started to burn the lungs there were pleasantries, for Mrs Mack was out taking the morning air, in sparkling form as always.

The buzzard rose from the roadside, yellow undercarriage tucked safely away as she headed for the spruce tops, and on we went.  As the beeches brown so the haws and the hips bring colour, and portents of the seasons ahead.  But the air was still and filled with joy.  A collie lay prone on the tarmac, black eyes watching as if a stray ewe meandered slowly from where she had been put.  Dogs and ‘bents are not often good company, but this one I knew would hold her ground.  And she did; we rolled slowly on, and down the hill, one more climb to come.

There was another buzzard, lifting from a telephone pole, messaging the tarmac as she glided overhead.  Missed me.  Get you next time.

And the mind turns to home, the wheels knowing the way.    The bull is by the fence, his girlies with him.  But he eyes the younger ones on t’other side of the road.  And from deep within he rumbles, long and slow.

Singing Together.  Remember the big old wireless being wheeled into class, for fortnightly music lessons.  There were no glocks, no guitars, barely a triangle in those days.  So we’ll head down to school later, and see how our cherubs’ inner talents are encouraged nowadays.

Come on, join in up the back.  Oh, what a beautiful morning…….


1 Comment

Filed under On the Bike Trail, Urchins & Joys

One response to “The First Frost

  1. We had triangles at our school but we couldn’t afford the ‘tinger’s (what is the name for the little batons used to ‘ting’ the triangle?), music lessons were fairly silent affairs! Unlike lapwings….I love ’em. How lucky to see so many together. Frost hasn’t reached us yet but it’s on its way. Off to yoga now. I like being a ‘mountain’ and a ‘tree’, bit like the ‘musical movement’ we used to do at school with our vests tucked in our knicks; ‘now children, lets all be a tree, bending in the wind….’ and I remember the big telly being wheeled in and us all sitting in front of it on mats on the floor watching some prog for schools. Hope you get many more grasshopper days yet!

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