Tuesday, 10 September 2013
The Empty Sky.
In the garden this evening I look up at this and I listen to the silence.
All through the summer the swifts and swallows and martins have screamed and scythed their ways through the warm air and I have watched their acrobatics, sometimes so high that they are specks against the clouds, at other times barely skimming over the vine arch.
There has been great and noisy activity in recent days, and then......then they have gone. Off on their vast journeys, following the winds and the stars and who knows what other invisible forces that draw them back to warmth and light.
This is the turning point of the year as we begin the dip into darkness.
Different birds will come, and if you visit places like Slimbridge you will witness the drama of other great migrations as so many birds make a refuelling stop on their vast journeys.
So the skies are not empty, only of the swallows and swifts who, for me, symbolise the changes in the seasons. I am so happy to see the first arrive, and so sad to realise they have left again. I wish them safety on their perilous flight. It just feels empty now, with the sort of feeling that autumn can induce.
I remind myself that I have a splendid crop of beans, and the sweet peas are still blooming busily enough to provide me with a vase full every day. The grapes are changing colour, even though I treat the vine with all the brutal force I can summon, attacking it with shears and loppers.
It thrives on punishment.
I have Russian tomatoes ripening. One of my Russian friends supplied me with tomato seeds as I was leaving Southern Russia in January, and thanks to a kind friend with a greenhouse we raised and distributed a great many plants. Some of the Russian plants are of the beef-steak type and others are plum tomatoes. They are huge and healthy, like Russian shot-putters, but I think they need a few more weeks of Black-Sea type temperatures (40 degrees or so). They, too, migrated by air to their new homes in Middle England, although they may not do so again unless the summers become warmer.
My elder son has migrated back to Central Asia, half a world away.
Even Grand-daughter has had her first flight, enjoying the turbulence of the return trip.
So my heading is wrong.
The skies have actually been very busy indeed.
They just feel empty.