Evening Song

A day’s dying light. Clouds are burnished deep purple by the last rays of the setting sun. The path stretches out before me, gently climbing higher onto the Downs. I’ll go no further tonight, but stop to lean on a wooden post and gaze across the vale. A large animal in the middle of a harvested corn-field, barely perceptible in the distance, draws my eye, a deer grazing I presume. Beyond, a smudge of forest slowly turns from green to black, becoming more dense and abstract by every passing minute. All is still, the air thick and warm, not a breeze stirs. Inanimate objects seem impossibly real, as if they too were alive, playing their parts; a gate left half-open, misshapen wooden fencing cut from half-worked boughs, leaning as if in a drunken slumber. Is it the failing light that heightens my perceptions… the shifts in perspective my eyes are constantly making – near to far, shallow to deep? They revel in it. So too my ears, pricking past the low rumble of passing aircraft, the distant drone of the motorway, to pick up a dozen different bird calls, nameless to my untrained ear. The noisiest, a conspiracy of crows, are clear to see. There is the sweeter song of a blackbird perhaps.