A Springtime Bike Ride
It’s a sunny April spring morning, with a bit of a chill wind gently blowing, I set out on my bike to ride through my local park/nature reserve buy a newspaper.
The yellow of the Tete-a-Tete daffodils planted by the pathway is fading as they battle with the growing grass that’s about to submerge them. As I cross the little wooden bridge, I see a cluster of yellow marsh marigolds creeping down the bank towards the gently flowing brook. I pedal on and the trees no longer look quite so skeletal – they’re starting to show a glimmer of fresh green shoots and powdery catkins dangle down.
Over by the bigger lake, ducks and Canada geese are dosing in the sunshine on the wooden platforms that poke into the lake with their beaks under their wings. Black headed gulls are crying, circling and settling on the lake. Otherwise the waterfowl are resting, although I do startle a pair of Moorhens who splash into the lake as I pass.
Coming out of the shop, I cycle round the lake where I spot a sight I wasn’t expecting. On the island in the middle of the lake a lone swan stands on one leg, preening – an interloper. There will be trouble when the male swan of the resident pair who call this lake and the nearby ponds their home discovers him. For the moment our cob is occupied with the task of raising a family by the ponds across the road. At the usual spot where the pair breeds, he’s relaxing out of the water – sitting pecking at the grass around him, but still near to his mate. I ride further around the pond and in the reedbeds I spy the pen sitting high on the large nest of sticks and grass they have renovated, safe from the stream flowing past her, dosing in the sunshine. Last year there were six cygnets, which dwindled down to three juvenile swans, until they suddenly vanished. I hope they found, or were found, a new home.
I stop and reach up to smell the Blackthorn blossom that’s still blooming at the top of the bush, whilst the leaves are starting to burst into green lower down and will help screen the nest.
Further on, through the hedgerow I glimpse young lambs and their mothers dotted around the green field, some with heads down munching, others resting or frolicking – all enjoying a sunny spring morning.
I cycle back home to put the kettle on for a warm cup of coffee and settle down to read my newspaper. Nature has fortified me before I read the tragic news stories from Ukraine.
A short story of spring from Barbara Street