house martin

Seasonal Flow

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Saturday 2nd October 1999

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bridge pier AFTER YESTERDAY'S rain, the Calder is in full spate. Looking down at the bridge piers cutting through the rushing waters is like being on board a racing catamaran. The turbulent flow raises the centre of the river above the calmer edges; while water almost laps over the two centre piers, the two nearest the banks are a foot or more above the flow.

martin Ten or twenty House Martins hawk for insects above the canal-side hawthorns. Dark ploughland, yellowing leaves, red berries, a sky of ragged rain clouds; it's good to see the turn of the seasons.

autumn, canal bank I can't pretend that I don't love to see butterflies and wild flowers of early summer, but, if that was the only time I saw of the local countryside, when it is at its 'best', I'd be missing out.

The rare and spectacular in nature are always exciting, but highlights aren't everything. It's like albums of 'The Best of the Classics', compiled from the most famous moments in music. After a while it's empty excitement.

Summer might be the climax of the year, but, as in music, to get the most out of it's got to be experienced in its context of growth, development and renewal. All that action and excitement needs the contrast of quieter, gentler passages.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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