Sunday, 28 March 2010

Summer Time and The Jungle Book

Lady shot off as fast, as far and as furious as ever when I let her off the lead at the edge of the village this morning. I was feeling somewhat less vivacious, it was the morning after we shifted the clocks forward an hour which always disorientates me. The shift back in autumn has the opposite effect, it energizes me; I hardly notice the one hour shift from the UK to central Europe but it can take me a week to settle in to summer time. In an attempt to prepare for the change I like to adopt my father's method of altering the clocks early on Saturday evening so that we go to bed in summer time but the morning is still difficult.
There was a grey-blue hue to the sky, streaky to the west, to the east blotches letting enough sunlight through to form long weak shadows in front of us. A constant stream of wind flowed round us from the west.
My mind drifted to the bedtime story I had read my grandson last night, a Disney version of Kipling's Jungle Book. I'd struggled through the Czech text while he corrected my linguistic limitations and enthused at the illustrations of the characters. I recalled an English teacher, “Who do you think is the real hero of this story?” she would ask us to get us to think below the surface of what we had read. “And which character would you identify with?” I dwelt on this. Am I a Maughli, not wanting to see the dangers in life, am I an over-serious Baghera, or perhaps a Baloo bumbling through life? I'm probably a bit of each. Reflecting on our tendencies helps us to know how we react in life, what we are attracted to and why things upset us. Of course I must say I'm familiar only with Disney's adaptation of these characters, I haven't read the original.

After breakfast we will read another chapter, it will good for both of us.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Never stop looking

Lady was waiting when I returned from today’s early lesson. She was eager, she had something to show me. White pillows of cloud puffed across the sky and cuddled the sun which was gently warming us. There was just a bubbling breeze which caused the wind turbines to turn reluctantly.
For the first time this year the skylarks trilled to us but although I stretched my neck in all directions I gave up, unable to locate them.
Lady was in a foraging mood. Time and again she ran up to me and forced her muzzle deep into last year’s long dry grass, using her front paws to open a gap to push further. Then she withdrew her head and looked up at me. “Keep searching enthusiastically”.

(I am no photographer and I took these snaps on a phone)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Accepting individual differences

A warm blue sky criss-crossed with vapour trails greeted us as we set off in the late morning and on leaving the village a dancing breeze made its presence felt.
Lady wants to go faster than me and she dislikes waiting so she has to cover more ground. She achieves this in different ways. Earlier in the year I took to cross-country skis to traverse the snow covered field to reach the forest a kilometre or so distant. On these excursions she crossed my path in front of me in a sinusoidal pattern. Today her method was to charge ahead then turn and run back towards me with deviations to left and right, particularly to my right to forage under the line of walnut trees which the track follows.
We both know that we have our own pace, we have our own needs to meet, things that we want to experience on our walks. There is respect for the differences of the other but we enjoy each other's company. These walks wouldn't be the same for either of us without the other. She teaches me a lot about acceptance and tolerance.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Waking Trees

After a cold start to the day, several times at school I'd seen the still bare trees outside waking from their long winter sleep and stretching their branches towards the sun. However by the time Lady led me off for our walk in the late afternoon the sky was engulfed in light grey, merging into a navy blue towards the horizon. Despite the feel of cold rain on the wind ,my least favourite weather, when the showers came they were just short flurries of snow.
As we returned from the forest, the trees lining the small road we have to cross had sunk back to their winter forms, now just small stark silhouettes in the fading early evening dusk, just a final snooze before spring's alarm calls.

Monday, 15 March 2010


The sky was a rough patchwork cloud, greys with shades of blue, and near the horizon a gold yellow was trying to break through from behind. The mood of the wind was immediately apparent, it was more intense than yesterday when it had been as playful as Lady. Today it meant business, it came straight for us from the west as we followed the track that skirted the village next to the expanse of field that leads to the forest. In the other direction the two giant wind turbines were fully concentrated on their work, no time to gaze around this morning.
While in the village I had been aware of bird song coming from the shelter of gardens. The most visible sign of bird life was the small flock of starlings, a small-walnut-tree-full-sized small flock, very small compared to what I used to see sweeping through the winter skies at dusk in the UK. Skylarks will soon be a feature of walking the track across the field, their calling heard long before I am able to locate them by eye.
I know so little about birdsong, on our return journey I asked Lady if she listens to bird song, does she understand it? She looked at me, how was she to explain to me, a simpleton who communicates by mere words...............

Saturday, 13 March 2010

March Winds

The first thing I notice as Lady and I head away from the village is the lumpy grey sky. A few snowflakes are dancing on the lively wind. Although the thermometer is showing a temperature just above freezing, the wind has given the ground a freeze dried quality. Yesterday afternoon the temperature was similar but the light mud was sufficient for Lady to require her “slippers” on return home. These items of paw wear are my wife’s ingenious solution to chasing muddy trails through the house with a mop.
The winter here lasts so much longer than where I grew up on the east coast of England. There is a bare brownness to early March which lingers until spring takes over and then everything happens too quickly in April. From snowdrops to tulips in a week, trees showing and shedding their blossom, after the long wait there is so little time to take it all in.
March is also a season of wind. Such an important aspect of our lives, it brings so much into our lives, not just the weather and the seasons. Today I feel it will bring rain but it stirs me to think what other aspects of our life are brought as if carried on the wind.
Lady has a more active method of philosophising and is rolling in a patch of lingering snow.
Home for breakfast, no slippers today, girl!