Thursday, June 23, 2011
Down at the peat bank, this morning, we fell into an easy rhythm of cutting and throwing. As we worked, I became aware of the sounds of that dance. The steady slice of the tarisker as it cut through the moist chocolate coloured peat, the occasional rasp and twang as it hit the rootier sections, and the gentle bump as the peat blocks landed on the bank. Slice - bump - slice- bump- rasp- rasp- twang
Straightening up, we are aware of our own breathing, a bit heavier now because of our exertions, and we are then surrounded by a chorus of skylarks - serenading us from high above; descending swiftly to check on their nests built in the soft grasses of the moorland. The incessant sound of the chicks chirping in the nests drown out their parents sweet song as they clamour for food.
There is the occasional sound of traffic passing on the long straight road - slightly more now that the tourist season is in full swing. A neighbour drives by, tooting his horn; curious holidaymakers slow down to watch us; cyclists whoosh past, calling out their greetings.
The glug, glug of tea being poured from the flask, and then quickly back to work.
Slice, bump, slice,bump...
It is a fine dance on such a still day.
At the croft, there are different sounds to accompany our tasks. More skylarks - cousins no doubt, of the peat bank larks, but still as delightful to hear. A cockerel crowing or dog barking pierces the silence. Distant traffic can be heard now and again; occassionaly the low rumble of a car crossing the cattle grid at the entrance to the village, Sheep calling for their lambs, and young bullocks lowing in a nearby field. Sometimes there will be the clip clop of horses hooves as our neighbour walks her horses. Washing snaps on a line, drying quickly in the breeze, starlings chatter and whirl around in their huge extended family flocks and a far off whistle sounds from the hills, as a shepherd tells his dog to come bye
It is a wonderful symphony that surrounds us.
And in the midst of these dim midsummer nights, we might wake and hear the crexx -crexx of the corncrake in the field outside the window.
Sshhh - listen! What do you hear?