Tag Archives: brook

Dinnertime

The narrow brook slowly meanders and wanders, emptying smallish lakes way upstream and draining broad, low-lying fields on its way to the sea. For most of its length it is enclosed by steep banks which the streaming water has gradually sculpted over the centuries. In some places the brook is wider, and the water seems completely still. Sometimes it overflows the low banks, turning nearby pathways and fields into small ponds.

The course of the brook is marked by a thick line of bushes which stretch their thirsty roots down through the rich soil to reach the water. These thickets provide shade and food for flocks of small birds, but also conceal a well-camouflaged, high fence. A wide footbridge, situated where the brook is broader and slow-moving, attracts a large flock of mallards. Little children and pensioners lean over the side of the bridge, bags of old bread at the ready. Themallards seek refuge under the bridge when the hawks circle above, biding their time to launch an aerial attack. This autumn the abundant rain has made life difficult for the mallards; the brook has swelled so much that the brook reaches up to the floor of the bridge, blocking off their escape route.

A loud squawking and flapping of wings broke the silence of the autumn twilight, as a mallard desperately tried to lift from the still water. The heavy bird came crashing through the bushes, flying low into the sunset, trying to gain height. A drone-like hawk struck from above, homing in on its target. A dull thud could be heard as the hawk sank its hooked beak and talons into the neck of the heavy mallard, slicing through its feathers. Linked together they sailed through the air for another twenty yards, hawk hunched like a jockey on the back of the mallard. They hit the ground together with a loud bang; two final choking squawks and then, silence. The hawk wasted no time plucking the feathers off its victim, still warm, just right for dinner.

An Unlikely Couple

Heavy rain last night, and now the muddy cocoa-coloured water almost overflowed the banks of the narrow brook as it snaked its way to the sea. Yellow water lilies leaned over in the strong current. The hot rays of the sun melted the morning mist.

Two figures walking close together appeared round a bend in the pathway which followed the meanderings of the brook. Two women. One appeared very frail as she shuffled along in her bright orange wellies, trying to avoid the puddles in her path.  Her matching orange raincoat was slightly too large, hanging down way below the knees of her white trousers. She was pale, striking white hair in an almost fashionable page cut, thin and not very tall, probably over eighty. Her thin arm, submerged in the oversized raincoat, was hooked over the arm of the other woman. She was younger and much taller, the older woman not quite reaching up to her armpit. The younger woman had a soft olive face, surrounded by a colourful tight shawl which concealed her hair, long flowing blouse and skirt, heavily patterned in dark green and brown, on her feet a pair of intense white sneakers. They walked slowly, the older woman leaning on her companion’s arm for support, both silent and looking dead ahead.

I stepped aside to let them pass on the narrow pathway. The only sound came from the water on its way to the sea. As the couple passed by, I was sure I could hear their thoughts.

The older woman thought; this is my first outing for ages. There’s so much to see and hear and smell, I just can’t take it all in. Wonder what she thinks about this? What was her name again? Must be boring to be sent out to walk me, like taking the dog out for a walk. She should be having fun with others her own age instead of this. We just have nothing to talk about. I’m so curious about where she comes from. But you can’t ask, can you! Might think I’m nosy. All these puddles – good job I got my wellies on. Poor girl in those thin shoes. She’ll catch her death of cold. Perhaps they don’t use wellies where she comes from.

The younger woman thought; here we are again, now it’s Gertie’s turn for a trip around the park. If only she would talk it’d feel less like taking the dog out for a walk. I’m sure she has a lot of stories to tell. Wonder where she grew up and what it was like when she was young? But you can’t ask, can you? Might think I’m nosy. Ahh! my bad luck. Right in a puddle with my sneaker. Went straight through – wish I had wellies like her.

Turning I saw that they took a firmer grip on each other and continued on their slow, silent walk along the brook.