Monday, September 1, 2008
We have had miserable weather for weeks now but to day the sun shone early this morning as I walked the dog and though a very gentle mistiness was apparent from the viewpoint to Kelston round hill, I could still see to Cley Hill's softly rounded shape between two fingers of the downs about 25 kilometres away, but not the Bronze age barrow on top though. King Alfred's tower (33 k) was not to be seen, neither was the great radio mast on top of the Mendips with its long barrow underneath. These will be seen in the sharper clearer air of winter, as will the sea that laps the Bristol Estuary, should I happen to stand on the old spoilheap of 1911 - still there after all this time adjacent to the barrow that was excavated.
Smoke curls up from the Westbury concrete factory, and just to the right of the smoke will be Westbury White Horse reminding me of another horse, the Uffington White horse, I saw from the train from London last week, still galloping across the downs 2000 years later.
History written into the landscape by those who were unable to pick up a pen and write, or knock a few keys on a computer as I am doing. Their mark has lasted thousands of years my few words will be wiped out in a second, perhaps a good enough reason to plug the need for protecting our past and standing guard over it for our future grandchildren.
But what else on my walk, the buzzard aloof on his telegraph pole scanning the grass for mice was there, and as we passed he slowly and gracefully flew to a far wood. Along the path the patch of toadflax has once again appeared, moving further south so that it is no longer on either side of the path. Stopping to pick a flower head and see how it mechanically works for bees, I see that its lower petal needs a certain amount of weight for it to be dragged down for pollination - clearly the role of a heavy bumble bee. The plight of wildflowers is underlined dramatically here, for this small occurence of toadflax in a large 100 acre landscape tells us that unless there are more wildflowers the bees will surely starve.
The swallows are swooping round the racecourse, gathering in a small bunch up in the sky, and again it doesnt seem a good year for the production of young. But wait two hawks are playing in the sky, dancing on the wind they swoop around each other,sometimes being held by the wind in that wonderful stillness of feathered magic as they hang motionless midair.
The dog chases his ball with canine grace, leaping up in the air to deftly catch it as it flies through the air, nine years old now, he has walked this area asserting his dominance over young boisterous labradors, a collie naturally trained in exacting obedience from those around him - his life a simple duty of guarding hearth and home, of keeping his world safe and secure from the dangers of outside, not a bad reason for owning a dog who guards me as well on our walks...