With the country lane outside our hovel cast in the grays and silvers of the half moon we set off into the night. Claws scrabbled on the tarmac as my lead dog was anxious to be away and running in the fields. Patience never has been her strong point but speed and stamina are, I take it as a sign of a healthy dog even if it does mean an uncomfortable start to our wanders as I resisted being dragged down the lane. We had barely gone a hundred yards before I realised she was not going to cease her pulling. I decided to stop for a moment to settle her down.
Besides us was a sight I see every day, a little brick built bridge crossing a ditch to a gated field. In the lowlands of the river valley we do not have babbling streams and their joyous waters. Here we have a gentle trickle of field and road run off water silently making its way along the dug channels of agricultural infrastructure. Nature has of course made its own uses for the bridge and ditch. The top of the bridge wears a cloak of greenery virtually unworn by the infrequent use of traffic to the field, to the sides the grass is longer giving hiding places for the field voles and occasional hedgehog or toad. The ditch itself is so often patrolled by the barn owl or the heron, tonight it would be the quiet rest of the mallard ducks keeping out of sight by the topography. The field passed the ditch lined its boundary with a hedgerow, trees projected through with their limbs adorned with ivy and the onset of spring would soon bring the nests of songbirds and the flitting passes of the bats as they would take to the wing to assault the clouds of insects rising from the undergrowth.
Last summer some of the children from the near by village took entertainment here, clambering down beneath the bridge to explore beneath it as their bikes lay on top awaiting their return. To many the darkened waters of the ditch would not be a healthy place to be, but as long as the waters are moving and remain untainted by chemicals from the fields or oils from the lanes higher up the hill nature will thrive and the cycles of life will turn. Standing in the moments between past and present in the moonlight I found the little bridge gave me time to think and a most pleasing place to be surrounded by. So often we breeze past the familiar sights of home without bringing them to our thoughts and perceptions, tonight I changed that pattern here.