March 04, 2012

A lark ascending

A reminder today of how capricious spring can be: we woke, in Shropshire, to driving snow. At 700ft above sea level, halfway up the Wrekin, we were engulfed in a snow cloud that turned the tops of the hills white but left the houses and farms lower down the road untouched.

Eventually it turned to icy rain which left lacy patterns in the snow where it lay on the grass. We walked out of the village across fields of maize stubble, the sky louring overhead and a cold wind whipping into our faces off the Clee hills. Water rushed off the Wrekin, forming fast runnels in the ditches; here and there disks of water stood in the winter fields like sheets of steel.

And then, impossibly, a skylark, the notes unfurling distantly, stitching the slate-grey clouds together like a bright needle. There he was, ascending foot by foot as though on an invisible pulley, pouring the notes down onto the freezing fields, his tiny body whipped by wintry rain, and singing, despite everything, because it was spring.

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