Rural Observations

by Mary Reed

As a city gal now living in the country I occasionally observe things,
small enough in themselves, that strike me as, well, striking. Or as my
young niece once said in another context, “There’s an awful lot of
nature here, Aunt Mary.”

Yesterday, for example, I watched one of those tiny dark grey birds with
white tummies, long tails, and swooping flights (what are they, anyhow?)
jump into tufts of long grass. Once there he flapped his wings and twitched
his body a bit, and then was off to the next tuft, where the avian gymnastics
were repeated.

Apparently lack of puddles did not stop him from enjoying a morning

And speaking of mornings, early one recent morn I found my gaze
drawn to a lush fern on the slope across the lawn.

The area was in shadow, the sun not having sufficiently risen over the trees
to bathe it in light. There are ferns all over the landscape — we encourage
them — and for a moment I was not certain what drew my attention
to this particular fern.

Then I realised it was the flicker of movement I must have seen from
the corner of my eye.

That fern was winking at me with red or light green or white flashes.

Had fairies come out from the woods to semaphore messages in some
unknown tongue?

Those tiny flashes lasted at least five minutes. Then I realised the
culprit must have been a stray beam of sunlight highlighting dew
trembling on the fern, turning the drops of water into glittering gems.

Oh, that’s obviously what it was, I hear you say. Indeed. But the
strange thing is at the time there were no sunbeams reaching
through the canopy of trees down to that shaded fern.

Perhaps it was fairies after all.

Mary Reed is the co-author of the John the Lord Chamberlain mysteries set in sixth century Byzantium. The current entry is Nine for the Devil.

7 Responses to Rural Observations

    • There is something strange about deep woods, isn’t there? Almost as if older times were trapped in them and any moment a centaur might trot past — but also something a little scary too.

  1. On Mykonos, Mary, when someone has that sort of flickering red and green light experience first thing in the morning it usually means it’s time to detox OR at least leave the disco.

    I personally prefer the sunbeams on thrice cut, dew drenched ferns experience.

    And it sounds like a chickadee, but could be a few others…up to a mourning dove. Or Batman coming home late from the light show.

    • The Bird of Mystery is definitely not a dove and going by the photo on Wiki it’s not a nuthatch either. Nor a Robin with either upper case or lower case initial. Well, I expect I shall find out what it is one of these days….

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