The expanse between the garden and the wood is a turbulent ocean of leaves. The wind ruffles each branch in relentless pulses as it buffets the Silver Birch, Hawthorn and Horse Chestnut trees. No wonder the resident Blackbird’s sentinel perch at the top of the fir is currently untenanted. The 'crow’s nest' is Crow-less. Even the Magpies have made a dash for cover. Up above the highest branches, a tarpaulin of grey cloud blocks out the sun one might expect to see on this late June afternoon. Down below, flurries of Silver Birch seeds float in raindrops on the picnic table. The chairs we used for balmy alfresco meals only a few days ago have been carried indoors.
A kit of Wood Pigeons has just flown past my window. I can hear the coo of the Collared Doves, but cannot see them. I wonder where the recently fledged Blue tits have hunkered down. The rambling rose bush is shedding peach-pink petals at an alarming rate. Its stems criss-cross in and out of the trellis and are still intact, but on a day like today I cannot help wondering whether the rose grower who gave the species the appellation of ‘High Hopes’ was feeling just a shade optimistic. The only plant that seems untouched by the strength of the gusts is, of course, the lofty and indestructible Mile-a-Minute.
Suddenly the sun appears for a few fleeting minutes. Velvet-brown wings skitter past my arm and come to rest, wide open, on a shiny leaf of what I think is Woodbine. I see they are framed by a delicate line of white scales. It may be the force of the storm that is ruffling my lockdown hair, but it is the unexpected joy of seeing what is only our second-ever Ringlet here in the garden that causes my heart to flutter.
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This post was written as a response to Dr Miriam Darlington's #30dayswildcreativity 'Winds of Change' meme on her Facebook page.