I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Birch Trees At Whisby

After a very windy night, today I took a walk in Whisby Nature Park. It's quite near here, just south of Lincoln. I think it was formed out of old sand and gravel workings. We used to go there quite often at weekends when the children were young and the dog was alive. The wind had died down a lot but it was still blustery. A low sun emerged out of cloud from time to time, transmuting the dull pewter of the ponds and lakes into shining silver.

A stoat streaked across the path near Grebe Lake, the black tip of its tail clearly visible. A grey squirrel shot up a tree. I only caught a glimpse, as grey squirrels always seem to climb up the other side of the trunk, the side hidden away from any human observers. On the lake itself the usual coots and moorhens and tufted duck bobbed about. And the odd pochard. And a pair of goldeneye, 2 pairs of shoveler and 3 pairs of gadwall. Overhead screamed black-headed gulls, their heads now darkening into chocolate-brown breeding plumage.

It was a little too early for the chiffchaffs and willow warblers, those first spring migrants, and much too early for the nightingales, for which the Park is well known. This is the only place I've ever seen nightingales. You can get very close. They're beautiful close up, not boring brown birds at all. And their song really does live up to all those romantic hyperboles.

Some small Shetland cattle (a rare breed) were lying down very still and quietly on the Grazing Marsh. Just beyond, the pitted Sandhills were awaiting the eventual return of their sand martin colony. On Willow Lake I saw a single little grebe, several great crested grebes, a few more gadwall - and a raft of perhaps 20 shoveler duck feeding in the middle of the lake. And gathered on one rough patch by the lakeside, clumps of purple-stemmed colt's-foot were bursting through. The yellow eyes of these flowers are fringed with long yellow lashes.

3 comments:

Singing Bear said...

Just want to say that I've only just stumbled over your blog via Loren's 'In A Dark Time...' blog. 'The Solitary Walker' caught my eye and I thought, 'I bet this has something for me!'

I haven't had the chance to look at any great length yet but, from what I HAVE read, I have to say I love your site. I, too, love a solitary walk but I have never wandered far...well, nowhere near as far as it seems you have. I have lots of nice countryside near my front door so I take advantage of this when I can. Unfortunately, I've not been well for the past year, so walks have been far more limited than I would like. Still, I'm praying things will pick up soon and I'll be able to get out there again.

You are correct about the particular quality of a solitary walk. To be alone with God and nature is so uplifting.

I notice that you are a big Dylan fan. Snap! There's so much greatness in all periods of his work, right up to now. Keep 'pressing on', Bob.

May I link to you at my blog? Hope that's OK. I'm sure many people can benefit from reading your words.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thank you for linking me to your blog, singing bear. And for all your comments. I will catch up on your blog and your various links as soon as I can. In the meantime, stay forever young!

Loren said...

All that name-dropping caught my attention, too, sw.

Sounds like a great place to take a camera. I guess we must not have stoats here in America, or we call them something else