Though the rains have returned, it’s still kinda nice enough to get out of the city these days.
And it’s so nice to do so.
The orchids are up in the Valdorba, and the thyme blooming.
Unfortunately, the rains have increased the erosion in many places where there’s not enough vegetation to hold the soil. This bunch of thyme is clinging on, but you can see the rocks breaking away from the side of the gully behind it.
And yes, that is recently burnt vegetation behind the orchid… some farmers just don’t get that scrub serves to hold their soil from washing away down to the Ebro and silt it up, which they complain about later when the farms on the floodplain… flood.
Hopefully the other plants can grow and help slow down further breaks.
Here’s a poem I wrote recently about getting into the countryside.
Birdsong Outside the City
Something calls, unseen, to me
Hidden in a willow tree of a copse
Alongside a swift river tugging
Tangled dangling fronds and
Flooding islands, a place
Providing people only invitation,
Unheard above the cars of
The city where blackbirds scream,
A small, soft, birdsong twittering
Like a signal, reverberating in
This stillness, resonating
As far as childhood; deeper,
Into bones, birth, bringing
Relief like a lost boy seeing
Family, safety, a memory.
A song saying stay, for whenever
Could one return?
A little poem as we note the start of spring here.
The bats indeed did come out that night and now, a week later, there are lizards and frogs about, as well as cranes coming back north and storks reclaiming their nests.
Leave Off the Light
Leave off the lights
At least until the light leaves;
Let us feel it while it lasts,
Catch sight of birds flying to roosts, crying
As it dies, and perhaps bats will wheel past.
Let night descend inside, too, before
Filling our night with brightness,
Let the life outside touch our lives a little,
For at last there is light as twilight arrives.
This is a little embarrassing to post.
As a wildlife enthusiast, I should not admit to not taking my kids out into the wild often enough that my son has heard his first birdsong only after he’s been walking for three months…
But life is hectic with a one-year-old and a five-year-old doing dance and swimming lessons in winter, and even though Pamplona is a small city with wildlife all around (including BEAVERS in the river not 200 yards from my house as the crow flies) it’s damn hard to get out of the brick and concrete on a daily basis.
We do go to village on the weekend, where there’s plenty of birdlife (kites and bee-eaters etc…) , but the evening birdsong is not something I’ve experienced with the kids recently.
I consider myself privileged
To see hills at a distance from
My window over the garden,
Graced by more than mere sparrows;
But my son has just heard birdsong
Today, for the first time, I had time to
Take him to city’s edge and embrace the
Twilit twittering of tits and thrushes
Scolding one another in the gloaming,
And experience, absent the ubiquitous din,
A blackbird’s sonorous cry to spring,
And say, “listen, hear the birdies sing.”
Deadlines have been on my mind as my release date approaches for Leaving the Pack.
Most of them are dates made in my own mind, but it’s hard to keep writing inside when there’s so much going on elsewhere.
What is a deadline? And how can one stand
Against the rush of a riffling stream past
Skinny legs of a standing heron over rounded stones,
Against the draw of deep water held behind a weir,
Against the rippling wind whipping through ripening barley,
And expanse of blue sky extending above a verdant plain,
Against the weight of sunlight upon a shoulder,
The swell of one’s chest at the sight of a field full
Of poppies and vetch, fetching delight at feeling,
Beating steady bass against the body, against the
Somniferous drone of bees through the blooms,
For whom the afternoon includes no siesta, or
Press of dancers in a crowded room, screaming
Swirling of swallows, flinging slight bodies against
Flies upon the wing, and insistent singing thrush
Trilling an announcement at all this end of daylight,
Making last flight and call to unseen nest?
How can anything resist the soft accumulation of
Seed cotton drifting down from dangling catkins?
The only dead line is that which marks the death of days,
Staying under sunlight as long as last its rays
Our only object, for the sun will set soon enough,
And the darkness will wash over all that was lit before it.