Forty Minutes in the Wilderness

The Strandsheron4 p.m., 43ºF, 8ºC: Two herons touch down at the far side of the flood lagoon on the Strands. There’s an indignant ‘kirrack!’ from one of them. A cormorant flies high over the river. Cormorants prefer the river or the canal for fishing; perhaps the lagoon is too shallow for them to dive in. Three coots forage together on this side channel.

cormorantThe low afternoon sun gives a warm glow to dry grasses and bare willows. When it drops behind a cloud, the glowing grasses instantly switch to dark silhouette and of course the reflections in the water change instantly too.

song thrushAfter forty minutes drawing I start striding back home along the towpath, timing myself as I go; just fifteen minutes from wilderness and wet to our front door.

A song thrush sings strikingly from the canal-side trees. Strikingly, but you couldn’t describe his varied, thrice-repeated improvisations as melodious.