Sunday, 25 March 2012

An Owl by the Sunset Pool

The Nottinghamshire landscape rolled by as I stared through the train window on a homeward journey. The grasslands were lit by the golden light of the early evening and the sky above the darkening horizon slowly turned to scarlet and orange. The few clouds high above captured the pink hues beneath them, but they remained almost motionless in the air at the faintest sigh of the evenings breeze barely ruffled the grasses and leaves of the fields and hedgerows. I glanced to my fellow travelers, kindles and Iphones held their attention and earphones prevented distraction from their neighbours. A host of eyes stared downward to screens, strange how such devices which claim to connect people manage to isolate them from what is so very real and stunningly beautiful. For a moment I felt despair until a lone passenger looked up to the sunset, smiled took to studying the wonders beyond the glass. Perhaps there is hope for some.

As the train slowed for my station we passed by a small pool at a fields edge. A barn owl patrolled the waters edge on slow wing beats as sharp eyes studied the bank for signs of voles or other small creatures. I could feel the cold of the glazing close to my forehead as I leaned to keep the owl in view for as long as I could before we inevitably passed by and creaked to a stop at the station. While other passengers left the train for their cars I stepped onto the verge of the road, with the lengthening shadows of the hedgerows beginning to cast the fields into darkness I watched the brown hares racing along. For all our technology and design, no vehicle can match the size, speed or mobility of spring hares a they kick up dust from long, powerful legs in the twilight, changing direction in a heartbeat and accelerating across the ruts of a fallow field.

Darkness had enveloped the land as lights within the hovel and the barking of my dogs welcomed me home. It was then I received the sad news that another of my line had died. It was not entirely unexpected, but still upsetting. My grandfather was always a modest man, but incredibly skilled, loving and devoted to all the family. He was a superb teacher and a steady light of reason when life seamed chaotic. I will miss him, but I will gladly carry his teachings forward.

Life seems to have a way of showing us glimpses of magnificence like scenes through a window, but once in a while you will get to travel with someone who can be good company, an understanding ear and who can provide wisdom and wit to the experiences you share. Such company can turn an enjoyable moment to a glorious memory to lighten your heart for the rest of your days.


  1. I am sorry for your loss, but this is a great tribute (and, by the sound of it, so are you) to a gentle-man. He lives on in you.
    I love the way you capture in this blog that feeling when, stepping away from the hectic babble of a city commute, silence and the order of the wilder things pours like balm into your being and you can almost feel your soul stretch and shake like a dog rising from its basket.

    1. Many thanks again. During the funeral he was referred to many times as a true gentle-man.
      I think we should always put aside a little moment or two during the day to listen to the quiet and natural aspects surrounding us. It is those moments of contemplation which often bring a remarkable perspective, however I think I am speaking to someone who is very aware of that :o)

      Your comment is much appreciated, I hope you are having a fine and inspiring week

      Best wishes


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