I approach Top Field, it is midday-warm, breezy; heavy banks of cloud, grey to white, flashes of blue. A lark rises, as I pass, its burbling silver song streams out onto the air, rising and falling. It is the sound of high summer, but more a call at the summer’s edge in these changeable, cool days. Across barley away to my left the wind strokes and swirls the pale green ears – endless, mesmerising patterns. I watch from the gate; I haven’t been out for a run for a while and the view is like a long drink of water. Replenished, I cut through the undulations ahead of me; a three-foot wide cut footpath that bisects a wheat-field – arrow straight and rolling to the far gate. A springful of somethings explode from under my feet-four of them, they scatter in a fan, all taking a different line; all I catch is silver, pale gold bars-long tails- a flashing glimpse; I can’t work out what they are.
My stop in the very centre of the field is part intrusion, part privileged perspective. I pause. The familiar roll and movement of my running takes a moment or two to reverberate and cease. At first the field seems empty: wheat and wind. I feel out of place. I don’t know why I have stopped in this place. Then a hawking housemartin skims a long low curve, right wing-tip fiercely down and disappears like a blink; a lark hovering inches above the wheat comes into my consciousness, he hasn’t seen me either; grey wagtails (that’s what they were!) twenty yards apart, oblivious to everything but each other, call to one another from swaying lookouts. The housemartin again, this time beating heavily up against the breeze. I am in shadow now, but catch the sun coming towards me across the sweep and roll of the hills, chasing shadows and wind. It all swirls together somehow: wind, patterns, shadows and sounds. Something makes sense, now that I have stopped, that didn’t before.