Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quite time.

There's a strange phenomenon about walking in Borrowdale in January. It's quiet. The cafe at Grange Bridge is closed, its only customers wearing fleeces, the lone and intrepid bus runs infrequently. B&Bs are shut until the season, self catering cottages stand empty.

But the woods aren't empty. All the wildlife that hides from the bustle and noise of the summer visitors emerges, quite relaxed and matter-of-fact. A squirrel will exchange a nod with you as it forages for a snack in the sunshine. A pair of woodpeckers in the oak tree overhead pause in their erratic tapping to cock their heads at you, passing below. They ruffle their scarlet underpants and return to their bug hunting. Great tits in the hazel bushes send the catkins dancing as they flutter to their next song post. A dipper, in his sober brown suit a bright white shirt front, flies low over the river, yards from where you pass.

Down by my swimming spot, the water is deeper, colder, but still so, so tempting.

I like it now. Don't get me wrong - it's lovely when visitors are here, too. Children so full of excitement they have to shriek to let it out, couples walking hand in hand by the beck, when they wouldn't dream of holding hands in the high street. Familes ligthing a BBQ by the shore. Laughter, shouts, happy sounds.

But I love it now, when it's like a secret shared by me and the wild dwellers of the valley, going about their daily business. The shrieking birds in the hedgerow, the river saying, "Shhhh!" in the loudest voice, and over all, the busy, bashful silence of the trees, hoarding their sap and their energy for the great, magical burst of spring.

I am so, so lucky.*

*Although less lucky to have slipped over on the frosty grass, landed on my arse, clipped my elbow and somehow sparked off an attack of tendonitis in my left arm. Ow.**

** But it was worth it. ;-)


At 9:33 am, Blogger liz fenwick said...

Sounds magic - that is excpet forthe bit at the end!

At 3:45 pm, Blogger Lissi said...

That sheep picture is just genius!

At 9:25 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

It was magic, Liz, and my arm's much better now!

I know, Lissi, they were hilarious! Thanks for visiting. :-)


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