A Unified Cloud

Evening walks are one of the joys of this time of the year. The days are long enough so we can get all the routine jobs done that a large garden demands during the day, but there is still time to take a relaxing meditative walk in the evening. There is no pressure to rush back and get something done before dark, we can linger and watch the birds or marvel at the energy of young lambs chasing round the fields.

A few days ago we were sitting on one of our favourite benches where there’s a view across the salt marshes to the distant hills on the other side of the Solway coast. There are a few blackthorn and hawthorn trees, each in turn producing beautiful blossom that dresses branches in bridal white.

By June the blossom has gone, soon the sloes will appear on the blackthorn and the hawthorn trees will be covered with the ruby jewels of haws. But just now it’s too early to see the fruits appear, it’s the starlings who draw our attention.

We watch as they circle the saltmarsh or merse as it’s more commonly referred to here and in a synchronised mumruration, clouds of unified grace, they move around the evening sky. The following poem should be laid out differently, but I couldn’t replicate that format on the blog – You’ll have to imagine the text sweeping and swirling rather than being in a stiff column! Maybe I’ll take a photo and try to post that one day …

Murmuration over the Merse

I envy those starlings

they swoop though the air

circle a distant hawthorn tree

then skirt around a second

land briefly on the third

before rising

all together like a cape

thrown up into the air

they move on again

rise like  twisting

plumes of smoke

as one amoeba-like

shadow above the merse

patterning the dusk

together        they fly

perfect harmony

in unison      

no outcasts

We could learn a lot from these avian souls.


Author: annedunford

Now fulfilling my ten year old self's ambition to become a writer - it's taken many years and a long,long winding road to get here! After a lifetime spent teaching, making miniature ceramics, returning to teaching and training, I am now indulging in a lifelong ambition to write!

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