The young rooks are fledging, with some pushed out of their nests too soon by boisterous siblings that flex their wings and take up too much room. These youngsters end up on the ground, too young to fly and prey to the red kites and foxes that patrol the area and rather sadly abandoned by their parents. I found him (or her) hiding in the long grass and she was very complicit and didn't mind being picked up, sitting peacefully on my arm as I sorted out accommodation for her. I wasn't going to give her a name because somehow giving her a name would make us more attached but she's ended up being referred to as Widget.
To start with I hand fed her but now she's learnt to feed herself and she's very funny to watch if she is trying out new foods, jumping up and down on the spot if it's something she hasn't seen before like rice. Cheese is always a good favourite with corvids it seems. She's now in the shade poly learning to fly which she is accomplishing very well. When her baby fluffy feathers go I'll leave the door open for her to fly back to her family.
Meanwhile the runners in the garden can all feed themselves and barely being able to fly more than a few inches off the ground, content themselves with running and swimming in the paddling pool. Some of the pigeon's nest that has been made up the chimney fell down the other day into the hearth and to my delight it was full of white horse hair from Harry the horse.
It's been picnic weather and here is Pixienic joining us in the Nature reserve for a slap up picnic, some of which she enjoyed herself when our backs were turned.
I have been reading Mary Oliver's essays Upstream and came across one on a spider she observed in her house. She is such a beautiful writer and her description of the spider laying her egg sacs, fussing, patting and circling them, sometimes lying with her face near them - then their subsequent hatching as the shy. male spider watches from the edge of the slightly chaotic web, is so engaging that I have changed my attitude to spiders. This is quite a feat to change a lifetime fear - through literature.
When I had finished reading it I passed a huge Huntsman spider clinging onto the wall by the cupboard under the stairs. I would normally have shuddered, wondered how to get rid of it and scuttle myself up the stairs to get away from it. Instead I looked at it closely and marvelled at it and no longer felt afraid.
As Beezle and Anais Nin would say " It is a sign of great insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar."
Pixie's interesting fact is that wolf spiders can run at speeds of up to 2 ft per second.
aaah - I'm not sure I'm completely over my fear.
Below is a poem I wrote when the children were young and I realised I mustn't pass on my fear of spiders. I think I didn't succeed very well.
It broods in the folds
of the nightdress-
huge, as if it wears an overcoat
-as dark as dreams.
I shudder and sleep in the other room
There is nothing sadder than
being single and having
to deal with a large bug.
Later, when life becomes
too short to dust
and I have found other fears
I keep good company with one.
Through the borrowed view
of the bedpost
I watch her dance attendance
repair and tidy her beautiful web
nibbling at her trussed hors d’oeuvre
saving herself for the Big One
her Mr Right whom she devours
after a night of spinning passion
her just dessert.
Curled like a cat
she fills the corner
her egg sac casting a vast shadow
across the ceiling
she ceases to scurry
instead she watches and waits
her web slack with time
Now, as winter approaches she is ready
for her long descent.
She clings to her clever thread
my daughters screaming as she wearily
I cajole and re-assure
I place her in the palm to prove a point
and now, close up
She seems much smaller than I thought.