A Field in Martin Village
Summer colds are the worst.
I can’t decide if it’s because the symptoms are more severe or if it’s the fact the suns shining, the weather’s warm and the outside is enticing you to go explore it.
Either way I spent a rather rubbish few days in bed over the past week, feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself. Although amidst the piles of tissues, lozengers, endless cups of lemon and ginger tea were also my binoculars.
Yep, that’s right, I had my bino’s in bed with me. Not a typical cold fighting cure, but between the bouts of dozing and sneezing I was faced with a pretty spectacular view from the van window.
Our view of Martin Village
It’s a view I admire daily, but one I only glance at.
A quick scan of the horizon, a nod of acknowledgement to the endless numbers of rooks and the bevvy of rabbits that make their home in my line of sight. But that’s it. I very rarely stare at it endlessly. There’s usually very little chance to study the meadow directly in front of us, or the cluster of trees that separates the arable field from the game cover. There’s certainly no time to ponder the forest that lies beyond the horizon.
So, I guess my three days in bed was actually a chance to get to know the wildlife next door.
It’s probably the longest I’ve stared at one landscape straight.
I’ve never really got to know its comings and goings before but after 3 days I was certainly more aware than ever of the comings and goings of a few fields in Martin.
This was the first wild neighbour I encountered, and honestly, he was so big that I genuinely thought I was looking at a small deer. It wasn’t until this lolloping figure begin moving through the crops to the tram lines of the field that I knew it was a hare. His powerful gate gave him away, bounding with ease before tearing off at break-neck speed. I didn’t even need the binoculars to see the hare, my eyes easily picked out his shape in the sea of green, following his folly as he whipped through the grass so fast, he didn’t even cause a ripple. Then melting away, sinking into the stems as though he was never here.
I saw the hare a few times, and one evening I saw two. They lolloped along together, no rush, no mad march hare business, just seemingly enjoying each-others company in the evening sun.
At first, I thought it was just the hare - a large lump of animal in a farmer’s field. I was waiting for the rocket fuel boost of speed, but it didn’t come. It wasn’t the hare. This was a stealthy shape, skulking slowly amongst the crop before picking up the pace and lightly trotting towards the copse of trees.
With the amount of rabbits around here, I knew there had to be foxes, but I had never caught sight of one, or heard one, so I was pleased to frame one so perfectly in my binoculars.
The colour of this fox struck me, against the old crop cover, that looks like a strip of dust against the greenery of the surrounding fields, it blended in almost seamlessly. This wasn’t a red fox, this one was sandy with a light-coloured coat, save for a huge black splodge on its neck.
Rabbits stood to attention, like soldiers in barracks, as this general marched past. A few lost their nerve and bolted, but the fox wasn’t interested. He paid them no attention and was much more interested in play pouncing at the scruffy edges before disappearing.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Roe deer in this spot. There used to be a small group that gathered, making use of the shelter of the trees and the good grazing in the open fields. I wondered if the regular human presence of farmers and game keepers has scared them off, so I was pleased to have 3 or 4 sightings of the roe deer from the van window.
My first and favourite glimpse came one evening, just as the sun was setting and casting its golden hue over the land. From the clump of trees at the corner of the meadow emerged a roe buck, his coat glossy and glowing in the evening light. A true summer King.
I’m always fascinated at how delicate these creatures are, like fairy beasts, carried over the land on light feet.
The luminescent evening light just highlighted his beauty, and he was a joy to watch as he picked his way through the meadow, pausing every so often to take in the scents on the air.
The Beauty of Watching
Even though I was feeling rubbish, with a barbed wire throat and pounding head, something good came from my summer sickness. I learnt the art of just watching. Not rushing around, or on the move in search of wildness. Instead I had no choice but to let it come to me. To walk into my viewfinder, as though I wasn’t even there and go about it’s day to day business un-disturbed.
I also learnt what exactly goes on in those few fields of Martin Village.