Out hunting

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s whilst you’re driving out towards the reservoir that you see it.

Bickering as usual, running late as usual, and you can barely see out of the windscreen, it’s that filthy. One of those summer evenings you’ll reminisce about come winter, sun throwing out its rays and letting them soak into the rocks and the roads and everything that’s ungiving. You’ll touch the gritstone  wall at 10pm, when the sun has just dropped back out of sight, and you’ll feel it warm beneath your hand.

You’ve driven up the steep hill, out from the dark valley bottom where the air’s too close – the car struggled up this last bit, tyres juddering on that last corner where the tarmac’s worn away.

And here is the owl, flying low across the field to the right of the road. Too early for hunting, you’d think, but here it is, wings outstretched and face flat as it shadows the land like a Lancaster bomber.

You won’t see its wings move in the short moment of your glance – it’ll appear to be gliding, no effort, still as the evening – and later on, when you’ve come back from the reservoir and met up with your friends down at the pub, you’ll find that the words you use to explain what you saw are inadequate; your friends won’t understand because they weren’t there, they won’t be able to imagine the silence and the purpose of that owl, low over the fields and encountering no resistance from the warm June air.

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