SedgesFebruary dyke

Somewhere, in the middle distance, there is the sound of sighing, the susurration of dry reedbeds in the breaths of the first, softer, south-westerly winds of the year.  Zephyr-mild and whispering the warmth of a climbing sun, these breezes are the harbingers of a brighter time to come.  The colours of the February Fens are muted yet, with the fawns of stubble acres and last year’s broken sedges; the raw umbers and charcoals of the turned soil; the sky is still ice-blue.

The dykes are snow-melt bright, surface-painted by the leaning lines of power poles that disappear into distance.  Mallard, pochard and teal splash to landings on open water; the geese are already on the move.  South-facing banks and scrubby corners by tumbling corrugated sheds are stirring with life; a dandelion blooms; the cheerful, chirpy two-tone of great tits rings from the elders and the wren whirrs amongst the brambles.  The blackbirds are already building in the holly hedge by the farmyard wall.  Look closely and the sap green spears are thrusting; round village ponds the daffodil buds are clustering.  More cold may come, but, inexorably, the Fens are swelling with warmth and light and water, a hope-filled harmony of growth and life.  The land is rich with promise, with gilded silt.

February swings its way between the seasons, but the farmer eyes the sky and sniffs the air, kicks the drying turf and sees the scales dip into Spring; the Fens will soon open again to the ploughshares and the seed-drills.  Soon… soon…IMG_3590