Peregrine Lessons

Misty and quiet. Nothing seemingly. White grey cloud muffles, the breeze does little to stir the scene. The woods are a spectacular tangle of leafless branches, but the lift and the soar is lacking. It feels like nothing is happening. We go through the motions: take up station opposite the nest site under Yat Rock…the minutes drift; the moment drags; we used up our luck almost exactly a year ago at the same spot in a phrase lifted from J.A.Baker on ‘A day made absolute’ – floating, shining spider trails, moments of total peace and a final drama: ‘Then from the north along the ridge a tiercel appears, wings flicking rhythmically against the breeze. Purposeful. I have him in my binoculars as he overturns the smooth slope, the wings close, the speed slides upward, effortlessly. For a moment he becomes like the falling heart and it lasts and lasts (and now I replay and replay it in my mind) until the trees flash past – impossibly long seconds – certain disaster, then a flick and the moment is broken; the plunging ace flickers off like a bat and I lose him amongst the trees. A wordless exclamation comes through me like a bursting bubble.’ Unrepeatable I have no faith that last year’s lesson can be repeated or that I will be allowed to learn anything new.

Then a drawn out, wheezing call comes clear across the silence; it is joined by another and suddenly we are all looking. The lesson soars. A pigeon drifts laterally and morphs into the form we all seek. It is confirmed in a babble of excited voices as reflexed wingtips fling an arc across the white sky. The confidence of the bird swells the moment: a consummation for the first-timers. They have heard the words for weeks; now they can feel it for themselves as the portal opens briefly. Inactivity again, like the backwash of a wave. Stillness seaps with the cold before a flat glide rolls into a smooth sweep. Speed climbs. Like a hurled flat throw a hawk heads directly for the rock, it is impossibly, heart-stoppingly close before a nonchalant flick and a deadstop on the ledge. Again. Like last year.

I stare up at the rockface, and the ageless white statue of the peregrine. He has watched me come and he will watch me leave. and I learn, in a swift rush of understanding, that it will always be that way around. Foolishly I want him to end it, to fly away, to disappear and release me, but it is me that takes my leave.


About ThePeregrineFiles

Enthusiast. Father of five, Deputy Head, Academic, ex Head of English, writer, grower of old-fashioned roses, wild swimmer. Exploring convergences of place and moment in my writing; constantly fascinated by the way that a particular place at a particular time creates its own unique resonance.
This entry was posted in Nature, Nature, Place, Wild and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Peregrine Lessons

  1. Thankfully some bloggers can write. My thanks for this piece of writing..

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