In my anxiety to be in time for my author event, I arrive before anyone is in the building. I also failed to find my phone before I left home so I have a rare interlude of think time with absolutely nothing to do, and the only reading material I have is my own books, and I don’t want to read any of those. It is a beautiful Saturday morning. I tune into birdsong and the gentle sound the merest breath of wind makes as it moves the small branches of the trees planted around Sawston library. I delight in the way wildlife finds ways to make livings in between our ugly lumps of concrete. This is "England's green and pleasant land".
I hear great tits calling to each other – keeping their flock together, or maybe commenting on which trees provide the best eating opportunities. A sleek blackbird is doing well. His beak glowing such a bright sunshine yellow he looks as if he has dipped it in a pot of paint. Already he’s pulled two long stretchy worms out of the lawn in front of the library and he’s gobbled them down without blinking. Without batting an eyelid.
Not like our amphibians who close their eyes to swallow so that their eyeballs squeeze their food down their throats. It makes it look as if they have painful digestive problems.
A noisy squad of long-tailed tits has just flown over. I love their chattiness. They are one of Britain’s lightest but birds but they are pretty with pink-tinged breasts and ruby eyes. Their back view gives the impression of a blading white pate and fringe of greying hair. I enjoy that deception, or is it their joke.
Now I’ve registered the cheep, cheep of a house sparrow. These cheeky opportunists were so much of our garden life when I was growing up and it is so good to see that they seem to be making a comeback. These days every time I hear one I think on what we are doing to our planet. When I was younger there was such a lot of miniature road-kill on our windscreens it could be hard to see the road. Few may mourn the disappearance of insects, but insects feed our birdlife and process our waste. The ecosystem is complex and if we harm any part of it, we risk harming ourselves.
No-one understands why house sparrows disappeared from London and many cities. No-one knows how or why they are making a comeback. I celebrate their return and love the fact our wildlife is still here to provide my entertainment whenever I pause to look and listen, and wherever there is a patch of green or a few trees.