Friday, 20 September 2013

Autumn skies, rippling tide and wind that sighs

Pagham Harbour. Tidal channel, early morning. A sparrowhawk zigzags along the quiet bank bushes. From neighboring mud launch two redshank, sentinel of the marshes, their high whistles piercing the air. The soft breeze is heavy with the scent of salt and sea-mud, mingling with the pollen-rich perfume of the sea aster's purple blooms.The elder is heavy, bent, a mass of finger-staining berries. Beneath its drooping branches the purple-bruised bramble ripens and bryony lounges, stretches, trails all art nouveau, adorned with scarlet. The hedgerow is blushed with spindle. A comma basks in afternoon warmth and from the drying grass the hoppers chirp. Mallow and yarrow and fleabane vie, with teasel heads and thistle down. Grasshoppers chirp a constant electric buzz from yellowing grass. Before the lichen-patterned bench flows the reaching, stretching marsh. A carpet of yellowing grey-green grass and in the distance a widening strip of shimmering blue. White birds glint in dancing heat haze.Two moorhens are sparing, heads down, red eye glaring, white tail fanned. Their oversized feet trace a dot-to-dot picture across the mud. A slender little egret, plumes snowy white, stalks the shallows. Slowly, as the water ripples with the flowing tide, time ebbs.

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