The Swelling

Northward, onward, the harbinger of Spring pushes on against all adversities, driven by the strong desire to breed, and secure the continuation of its species; cementing its place as one of our favorite Summer arrivals.
Who knows how many miles it has traveled, what adversities it has faced and overcame to get here; but get here, it has.
The patchwork of bare fields passes below the Swallow’s belly, as it hugs the contours of the steadily awakening land on its long journey to its Summer Home. The crops of these fields are still hidden below ground, their identity a mystery to all except those who planted them.
That same patchwork of fields after being fed and watered looks so different now. Crops of corn, wheat, and sunflowers reach for the golden sun. They stand shoulder to shoulder, hemmed in by margins of tall grass that have been bronzed by the season, then dotted with vibrant red poppies.
Imagine the view from a Buzzard’s perspective as it circles effortlessly in the Summer Sky, looking down upon its Quilted hunting ground. Imagine the scene from the perspective of the young rabbit, that watches from the protective cover of the towering stems. It sees the Buzzard as if by magic disappear into the glare of the Sun. It’s gone! Or as it? The Rabbit moves.
At the beginning of each new day, the Dawn Chorus of unseen Birds, through open windows, has reached our ears. The morning air has been scented by a multitude of blossoms, before being laced with the aroma of morning coffee.
Ducklings, freshly hatched, have run, tumbling and tripping over twigs and themselves in an effort to keep up with their proud, cautious, protective mother as she leads them from their feather-lined nest onto the open pool. On this pool, they’ll learn the harsh reality of life in the wild.
Broods of young birds, freshly fledged, have followed their parents from tree to tree, bush to bush, and back again; constantly calling demanding food from the ragged-looking guardians.
Most of these hungry youngsters are an absolute delight to watch. Their little fluffy bodies, clumsy flight, inquisitiveness, bright yellow gapes, and the sound of constant begging always raise a smile. But a slightly less delight, is a flock of up to 30 ravenous Jackdaws landing on the front lawn; they do not know the meaning of peace and quiet.
They sit in the surrounding treetops, watching my every move, waiting for me to finish my feeding rounds. As soon as I disappear from sight, down they come.
Squawk, squawk, squabble, and squawk. They’re like a coach load of rowdy football fans arriving in the car park of a usually quiet rural pub.
With the bedroom window wide open because of the nighttime heat and mugginess, there’s no way that Jack can sleep through the Corvids Breakfast Banquet.
It’s half past four now and the night as retreated, revealing a grey mist that blankets the fields. Only the tallest trees protrude from its surface. There is no wind, nothing stirs, the only sound is that of the humble Wood Pigeon. It is wonderful.
To the East, the Sun peeks its head over the treetops, sending a ray of light, that transforms the mist from a milky grey to a magical, illuminating gold. The same ray of light kisses the roof of the garden shed before crossing the garden to further its magic in the next field.
Bees, leaving the hive, unwittingly fly through the golden shaft of sunlight, briefly, very briefly, transforming their little dark bodies into flashing golden bullets, before they disappear out of sight into the countryside beyond.
The Sun climbs steadily towards its zenith, replacing the cool freshness left by the night with the blistering heat of a furnace.



It is during this brief spell between spring and Autumn that wonderful magic occurs, Blossoms become berries, flowers become fruit. The tomato plants in my greenhouse that I have nurtured since March have grown, producing vines of irresistible juicy red globes. Runner beans have curled around their canes and climbed to the top, producing a pyramid of red flowers that have now become little beans. Apples swell, getting bigger by the day, they’re a treat for everyone.
During this short spell of time, the young must grow up fast, very fast.
I like to refer to this time of plenty as The Swelling. It all looks fine and dandy when observing The Swelling from the shade of a tree, sipping an ice-cold drink, but, there is another side to the coin.

It is now almost 4am and time for me to start my daily chores, but before I go I’d like to say hello and thank you for reading.
Take care.

6 thoughts on “The Swelling

  1. Hi Mick, this is a beautiful unfolding of the time of year. I have missed much this year, our walks have been short due to the heat, and now I’m stuck inside with Covid, so it was good to lose myself in the wonders of the countryside.

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    1. Hello, Andrea, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I do so hope that you are on the mend. It won’t be long before you and Winston are back out there, stronger than ever. He’ll be like a Bull on the end of a rope. I look forward to seeing a photo of him tearing through the undergrowth.
      Best wishes, and get well soon, Andrea. Speak soon.
      All the best.
      Mick.

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      1. Hello, Andrea. I’m chuffed to ribbons that you are feeling better. It’s never pleasant being under the weather, but as they say ” there’s no place like home when you’re poorly”.
        Before you can say “Jack Robinson” You and Winston will be out there in the thick of it welcoming the turn of the season.
        Jack and myself are closing a chapter in our lives and starting a new one; we’re moving to Wales. We’re saying goodbye to life in our little cottage, and starting afresh in Mid-Wales.
        We’re both finding it a bit more of an emotional wrench than we anticipated.
        I’ll knock a post together so that you can see where we are.
        Keep safe and well, Andrea, and I’ll catch you soon.
        All the best.
        Mick.

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      2. Sorry for my late reply Mick, I haven’t had much motivation to check the computer lately. That is a surprise about your move, it’s no wonder you’ve found it hard to say goodbye, I’ll head over and read the post.

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      3. Hello, Andrea. If you could have seen the smile that your reply put on my face. Jackie thought that I’d got a coat hanger stuck in my mouth. We’re both glad that you’re on the mend; I bet that Winston is too.
        The last I heard from you was that you were cooped up with the dreaded. That’s behind you now. Think of the Sheep in the field of flowers that you painted. It always makes me smile, and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you.
        Keep your strength up and keep well Andrea.

        Best wishes.

        Mick and Jackie.

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