Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunset at Home Farm

I SET MY CHAIR on the corner of my cottage flat, sit and sip at my final cup of tea of the day. The last of the dog walkers are making their way back to the car park at the visitor centre and heading for home.

The loud and lyrical song of a blackbird perched above his nest in a tree on the cliff edge tells all the others that this is his home and that they cannot come here. The chaffs and the robins become quiet, so too the tits and finches – high above, the occasional ka from a rosy gull heading back to roost on Arran.

As the sun slowly sizzles into Campbeltown Loch, an incandescent glow radiates from clouds high in the troposphere – a cooling breeze whispers through the budding branches of the trees – birds coorie deeper into their nests.

The quietness is soothing, the soft fizz of rippling tide on the shore below the cliff is soft on the ear; my tea is becoming cold, but I will drink it all as I normally do.

From the gloaming a flitter of silver becomes a moth caught in the blush of light from my window. In the wood behind me another blackbird has become raucous – it is likely something threatening is nearby – wood pigeons flap their wings forcefully. I remember a young cat a few days ago walking up the path, it is possible he is after a nocturnal nibble from a nest. Sudden and silent two pipistrelle bats whiz by my head, their masterful aeronautics so low to the ground takes me by surprise. My eyes try to follow them, but lose them against the dark of the wood. I find them once more above the trees silhouetted against the clear and darkening sky. Now there are others up there – hoovering up small insects taken to the night air. There must be a roost nearby, maybe in the loft space above the bookshop behind my cottage. Two more pipistrelles fly around my head and follow the same flight path to the trees; maybe these are the same two as the first? In a similar time span two pipistrelles come again swishing and swooping around the corner, surely the same ones? I watch the bats until it is too dark to see.

The last drops of my tea are sipped, and the air is now cold. I pick up my chair to go inside; a hundred or so yards away, the hoo of the tawny owl – it roosts near the shore above the Gas House. In the deep dark of the night, when I sometimes wake, I can hear it singing its one note song, a sound that softly reassures – everything in its place – sends me back to sleep.

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