Monday, May 04, 2009

Night walking – Dunwich in Suffolk

Thursday April 23, 2009:

On Wessleton heath, the night hums, crashing waves and distant traffic bind the quiet dark stillness in which we stand to listen for nightlife. Only a red legged partridge shrieks across the woods. Our ears play tricks on us. Is that a baby crying or a vixen’s love call? And is that rhythmical chuffing, a train, a motorboat out at sea or an unknown creature of the night?

By Fenstreet reservoir, a cluster of tall reeds frames the soft darkness that is the treacherous unseen water. Nothing is stirring. WE move on along the lane.

A church clock strikes ten. The dome of the sky throws its sonorous unhurried chimes back to as. Another red legged partridge shrieks, is silent and then shrieks again. His call echoes against the undulating land upon which we stand.

Silence again. Then softly a tawny owl hoots as it swoops invisibly upon its small scurrying prey. A bush shakes and I feel the gentlest paw or hoof fall in the grass verge behind me. I do not turn –merely stretch out my ears to its silent presence as though to nod “hello”. And then, across the sky, the rasping rough bark of a fox cuts the air.

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