'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir
I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.
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Monday, 18 January 2016
Slow Sounds...The Colour of Birdsong
The sky today was the colour of the fluff under my bed and felt like it was squashing down on my head like a heavy, scratchy blanket. But I went out for a walk anyway, after a bit of procrastination.
Even when the world outside looks black and white, there's always the colour of birdsong to brighten the day...
The demented call of a nuthatch ringing out from the birch woods is a vibrant purple, edged with bronze, like the end of a storm. It sounds like it's lost a nut and can't find it anywhere and is getting very, very cross.
The sound of woodpeckers drumming on a hollow tree is the colour of an old oak sideboard. (January is a good time to hear drumming woodpeckers. They are claiming their territory and advertising for a mate. 'An unpaired male may drum as many as 600 times per day'. Thankfully, woodpeckers have special shock absorbent tissue between the base of the bill and the skull to cushion the impact of drumming).
I see the robin's trill as pale, watery blue, like the colour of melting ice. A dunnock's piping call is the acid yellow of winter aconites and the blackbird's flutey song is liquid bronze, like the shiny coin I used to get at the bottom of my Christmas stocking.
If you join in with the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch on 30/31 Jan, as well as doing a really important bird counting job, you could practice seeing the colour of birdsong and even do your own painting.
The house sparrow came top of the list in the 2015 survey. To me, their call is the rich, earthy colour of a pint of real ale, complete with frothy top.
Next time you hear bird song, close your eyes and see if a colour comes into your mind. It could brighten your day.