This Wild-Hearted Summer

I will remember this summer. I will remember it for the long hot days and clear blue skies from mid-April to mid-July, the likes of which haven’t been known here for many years.

I will remember it as the summer my skin turned honey-gold and I wore my sun hat and walked bare-legged wearing ditsy tea dresses.

Most of all, I will remember it for the wild-hearts that have made their presence known to me, here by my writer’s nest in rural West Lancashire, providing magical moments that defy the passage of time.

In my previous posts, I shared the stories of the kestrel family and some of the wild creatures that have appeared on my path.

As I write, the young kestrels are competing for territory. Two of the youngest kestrels that I named ‘Grey’ and ‘Humble’ are still here, co-existing for now, practising their survival skills.

But there’s more. Let me tell you about the hares. I spotted one young, beautiful hare by the hedgerow in the meadow just behind my writer’s nest.

A few days later, on a walk to the Big Wood, several more hares were basking in the glow of sunset, and using the dusty tracks to test their speed.

These wily creatures, as large as a lamb, can run as fast as a thoroughbred horse. They need their speed to outrun Mr Fox although sadly are not always as lucky at outrunning Mr Human’s gun.

One morning, upon walking a few strides from my door to check on the young kestrels, a hare ran past me… and then another and another. They were playing chase on the recently-cut meadow, testing their boxing skills, preening and scratching, and nibbling at dew-glistening grass. One of the hares ran up to me (see the video below) and I almost dropped my camera in surprise.

And then there was the baby wren that sat next to me, chirping boldly, vying for attention while I had one eye on the kestrels’ nesting box.

A young pied wagtail posed outside my window.

Dragonflies have kept me mesmerised by their sharp-angled flight patterns.

Butterflies flit around me rarely pausing long enough for me to take a photo.

These magical moments have left me spellbound. It might be sheer good fortune to have had so many rare encounters this summer. It’s fanciful to feel that these wild creatures have invited me into their world, to observe, to capture a rare glimpse of their lives. Did my heart call them in? Perhaps.

As one season starts to merge into the next, these wild ones are busy in their ways of survival. They are still around. One of the kestrels (Humble) occasionally sits on the back barn or the farmhouse roof, which I can see from my windows. ‘I’m still here’, she says.

There are other creatures waiting their turn to be seen. There are deer hiding in the woods; the blue flash of a kingfisher gliding over the lake; and I’ve already heard the call of the Little Owl.

Out in nature, there is always the possibility of a chance encounter. There are magical moments waiting to happen at every turn. This fills me with hope and wonder.