… of a long, hot summer or of more wind and rain? Or something more sinister perhaps.
We’ve had an eye on the sky for a few weeks now, since the swallows were swooping in Moffat. Boy Urchin it was, first with the news.
Our house martins are back, quoth he excitedly. I’d forgotten they were still here, The Urchins that is, for the school bus is later these days with the school in decant and working to a different clock. There was I on the first scroll through the morning messages, lost in a different world, when the office door burst open. They’re here.
Within the hour the cuckoo was around as well, the air warm and still after days of blackening skies and burns running over, fields flooding across roads. The Urchins missed those two notes drifting over from the woods, safely off to school by then.
The joy here though is not in the arrival of our summer visitors, late as it may be, but in the realisation that it’s all beginning to sink in; The Urchins are soaking it up and noticing it all, without prompting. The cycle of life, the awareness of it, in these lands of wide views and big skies, surrounded by nature in the raw, is slowly becoming a natural environment to them.
So far we’ve only a small advance party, one pair, surveying the debris of last year’s nests, wondering where Occupy The Towers can be based, passing the message back to the building squads yet to arrive. There’s plenty of wet soil, they’ll have noticed.
So whilst I make a mental note that May 14th is the latest I’ve known for the house martins; and as I realise I hadn’t heard the cuckoo calling until now, it’s really the calls of the children, the excitement in their voices, the shining of the eyes. That’s what makes springtime in the country.
Before long there will be a busy life, from fields to eaves, shadows catching the eye, drawing the gaze through the glass. We’ll hear the chatter, from dawn till distant dusk. Then there will be demands for food, and fledging, finally, before they’re all off again.
And one day Boy Urchin will be able to handle the mower as well, maybe even without nagging though that will only be to keep his footie patch down no doubt.
Conversely, whilst the birds arrived late this year, the mower was out early. The mild and wet winter gave us green shoots and bursting buds, but what was going on far to the south that kept our visitors back?
But I may have spoken to soon. For after that brief appearance midweek, the house martins have been notably absent. Perhaps the word sent back to the construction squad was one of keep looking. Or maybe not. What’s doing with the house martins where you are?