Thursday, 2 January 2014

A dead pigeon and a sunset

The weather forecast doesn’t look too jolly for the next five days so at short notice we decided on a pleasant eleven mile walk in the hills around Hartington.

After recent rains, the River Dove was unusually fast-flowing and muddy brown so no herons to be seen. All we saw was a knackered-looking pigeon pecking around in the grass where we’d stopped for a brief tea break. It didn’t look at all healthy, having made no attempt to flutter off as my heavy boots clumped down only inches away.

As we sat by the river, a black dog came up, sniffed around us as they do then spotted the pigeon and made a grab at it. The poor old pigeon hardly made a token effort at survival. It just drooped there in the dog’s jaws as if resigned to the indignity of such an end.

The dog soon lost interest, dropped its bundle of feathers by the river and bounded off, the owners having by this time wandered onto the scene.

A gaggle of adults and children in wellies, they gave no sign of having noticed their dog’s exploit with the pigeon. Which was dead by then – I checked. I’d been wondering if I’d have to finish it off with a rock. The pigeon – not the dog.

We’d set off late, having had to stock up with Eccles cakes first. A serious matter and not on any account to be shirked. By late afternoon, the pigeon episode miles behind us we headed due west, dusk not far off.

There is something magical about being up in the hills, striding into the setting sun. Hard to explain the feeling, but for some reason I was reminded of these words.

And as the tree waved its plume in the night-wind, and the bird swayed on the moving twig, and the gas-lamp burned meekly and patiently beyond, I seemed to catch in these simple things a glimpse of the secret meaning of human existence, such as one gets sometimes, startlingly, in a mood of idle receptiveness.

 Arnold Bennett – Sacred and Profane Love


Sackerson said...

I'm fond of Eccles cakes - so long as they're not stingy with the fruit.

Demetrius said...

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.

Eccles cakes? Is there a cure for an addiction?

A K Haart said...

Sackers - the best I ever had were made by a local baker - big and sticky with lots of fruit.

Demetrius - there is no cure I'm afraid. Not that I've tried to find one!

Sackerson said...

I read that another philosopher replied, "Can you step into the same river once?"

Sackerson said...

P.S. Details of baker, please; or a consigment by post, I'll settle up with you.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - the baker was local to where we used to live some years ago. They were still warm if we went early.

We have nothing locally comparable now so we make do with packs from Sainsbury's which are okay but not really in the same class.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

A nice post to read. On another matter I was interested by your World Climate Widget but when I open it up it only gives graphed data to Jan 2011. Is that a glitch? I found the graph up to 2013 quickly enough on google, eg here:
I have no axe to grind in the debate, just interested in the data (air and sea and etc...).

A K Haart said...

Andrew - if you click the widget it does take you to a WUWT page with an old temp graph, but you can get the HTML code for the widget from further down the same page.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

Thanks - I just realised it was a different page I was taken to.