Daisy and I swing out of the garden gate into the lane.    It is Monday morning and time for our walk.   Everywhere is noise.   After a hear-a-pin-drop quiet weekend it annoyingly fills my head.    

At the beginning of a new week everything is going about its business.   On the other side of the lane a man has been called out to fit a new window to the old house.   He is levering out the frame to the sound of splintering wood.      The Army is bombarding Salisbury Plain and every thought I have is accompanied by a thud of the guns.    In the distance I can hear the sound of the traffic being pushed towards me by an overbearing wind.  

We walk through the lower field, past the sheep who all turn as one to watch us pass, fifteen or so pairs of sheeps-eyes timidly bid us out of sight, waiting until they are sure we are gone before they resume their grazing.    

We enter the copse.     I hear the sound of a tractor growing louder as we take the lower path.   On the other side of the small brook a farmworker is plodding round the hedgerows on a clanking blue machine filling the air with the smell of diesel.  

In the distance I can hear the persistent drone of a chainsaw.   

Above all this, somewhere up high, a bird is singing.   Suddenly all I can hear is the bird.   The sound pushes everything else into the background, forcing it out of focus.     The man, the tractor, the chainsaw, even the Army is diminished by the extraordinary power of this bird’s song.      It’s wonderful.   

I have no idea what sort of bird it is but it is creating a veritable symphony of sound.   It is as though its song is bouncing off every tree in a determined crescendo.   It is adamant its voice will be heard.    

Even Daisy, nose seduced as usual by the various scents of the path, raises her head to listen.   Her ears cock and her head wags from side to side.       We stand entranced for awhile and then move on leaving the singer to its amazing virtuoso performance.   

The wind is getting up again and yellow leaves are falling across the path.    We take our usual seat under the beech tree and watch the cattle who occupy the field.     They are sitting in the middle in a circle. 

Pav’s tribe is increasing.    Some of his ladies have given birth again and  a couple of new white calves can be seen dotting the edge of the circle, mothers close by and attentive.

Daisy is keen to be moving on this morning so we do not linger long at the beech tree .    Instead, we make our way along the footpath, across the fields and eventually into a further wooded area.    

The wind is throwing leaves up and pushing them around in the air as we follow the path.    Daisy runs from one side to the other.    Her nose has found the scent of the squirrels who have been greedily stripping the spiny, prickly cases of sweet chestnuts.    The discarded pods lie scattered, a vibrant lime green and expertly hollowed out, across the pathway.      From above, parched and curled leaves have fallen and now hang, bat-like, caught up amongst the thinning canopies of the smaller trees beneath.  

I can hear the sound of the chainsaw again now.   It is getting louder.    As we pass beyond the bend in the path I see a fallen Ash tree, young and slim, in the field beyond.   It has been felled and is being expertly dismembered, from the bottom up, by a man in a fluorescent jacket.   

The tree lies stricken on the ground and the wind, pulling at its limbs and its leaves, make it look as though it is struggling to stand.      I feel  the shudder of a horrified onlooker, a witness to some terrible crime, run through me.      I tell myself it is simply the chill of the wind…. but I know better.  

I find myself thinking of the bird song……a sad requiem….

Advertisements