He was aware of the season’s arrival, was conscious of the changes, but only in a rudimentary way.
For he didn’t know the names of the trees, nor of the birds, but he knew that those geese were preparing to leave, without him even knowing that they were geese.
They were obeying the same instinctive compulsion that they always did, long before anyone named them, and those birds didn’t even know that they were geese, either, for they just recognised each other, as they did in the times when other people, long gone, called them by different names, names now forever forgotten and lost.
But the days remain the same, the signs remain the same, it’s the language that rises and falls. It has always been our wont to label the landscape and creatures around us. Make things familiar and relatable.
He watched them go, taking to the skies, never knowing where they would alight, but trusting deeply in the way of things, and the day that they’d return.
I wrote this in 2017. The magic still remains.
September already. How soon the seasons pass.
Harvest time, fruits of the earth. Our spirits warm with the russet colours outside. I took the dog for a run over the fields this morning. Wind-frenzied trees could not dislodge raucous crows, shy jays, and their more cocksure magpie cousins. Though these are the early days, there is definitely a sense of being on the cusp of autumn.
Soon we will see the squirrels working overtime among the toadstools and wild flowers, the martins, swallows and other migrants gathering to make the long journey back to African shores.
Much to my wife’s distress, daddy long legs seem to be everywhere. One got in as I went out with the dog (again) last night, as my better half was busy preparing a meal for the next day. I said “Don’t harm it, I will catch it when I get back in”.
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Above the house, the swifts are screaming.
Can you hear them, Clarice?
We are bogged down by time and heat and lethargy.
I’m thinking of an old poem of mine, Dog Days, written under the sledgehammer of a July, noon-day sun:
who can deny /the sapping sun/at its highest point /lording over /our genuflecting /straw gods
We are all genuflecting, lowering our weary, supine brows. It’s been a hell of a long summer, and we’ve not yet reached July. Who could have foreseen this, who prepared? Not we little men, we average Joes and Josephines.
Not tonight, you-know-who.
Tomorrow is more of the same, that has been foreseen, but nothing lasts forever, nothing lasts at all, and storms are due to hit the day after that.
And then we batten down. Straw Gods and rush men.
Children of the corn. Drinking in the rain.
My daughter, Courtney, caught me yesterday in Lockdown Hell:
You just know that the weather must be good if those white northern legs are out, especially in May.
If this keeps up, this pale face may even sport a tan.
I think I better get tested.
With the demise, temporary or otherwise, of my son James’ team, Bury FC, I started taking him to watch a local non-league team by the name of Prestwich Heys.
A world away from the Premier League football that we could stay home and watch on the TV, it’s a real community club that values our support and attendance.
With no pretensions or VAR in sight, it’s proper football with proper fans, giving a warm welcome and an inclination to visit again – for the club quickly got under our skin to the extent that it has now become a family affair with both my wife and daughter also attending games.
We were having a great season, and then that damn Covid-19 virus arrived and everything was brought to a premature close.
In the meanwhile, a friend has started up a blog about all thing Heys to keep everyone still connected in these barren months. It isn’t on WordPress, but if you follow the link below you can enter your email address to subscribe to his posts.
So if you have an interest in non-league football; football in general; want to know what is going on in this part of Northern England, or to gain a glimpse of some of the things that I and my family get up to here in Manchester, UK, please follow the link and subscribe.
It’s a new blog and I’m sure the writer will appreciate the support of you lovely people.
His name is Rick, go say hello.
I’m sitting in the garden, once again, this time reading Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine.
It’s summer. I can smell summer; taste summer. My jackdaws are lining up along the neighbour’s rooftop, tethered by the sun.
It’s in the autumn I’ll think of my father; my grandparents, see the young ghosts of my brother and I playing cricket in the ginnel, dwarfed by walls I can comfortably peer over.
For now, it’s my children, playing with the dog as I pause to watch, mid-sentence, laughing on the threshold of a great beyond.
You know spring is here when the dandy lions come out.
Have a great weekend everyone. See you on the flip side.