I’ve mentioned the ‘Stoopid Birds’ before – we have wild pheasants living all around us here where I live between the North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds. I call them ‘stoopid’ because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why on earth they would choose to walk when they can fly. Faced with imminent death (the ultimate danger), they will happily amble across the road, facing down the oncoming tractor or Landrover, as if they have some supernatural power to cheat Death of his certain victory. It’s either divine stupidity or anarchic arrogance that serves them so well – most of the time.
Yesterday we took a short detour from our usual journey home and came across a scene of such bucolic tranquillity, I could almost hear Mahler striking up in the utter peace of the moment. Rolling luscious green hills spread out the great vale before us, with the setting sun casting an exquisitely ethereal light all around. The presence of an Almighty Hand seemed indisputable.
The obligatory pheasants were spotted on the road ahead, strolling in front of the oncoming tractor – no worries, they made it across and into the field of recently harvested stubble and joined some of their friends.
I’m including photos of some – see if you can spot them all – although I couldn’t get the seventeen we saw all into one shot!
They may not have been blessed with brains or even an iota of common sense, but they are quite spectacularly pretty birds.
A short while later we came across a herd of quite breathtakingly beautiful brown cattle. I immediately heard Rex Harrison extolling Audrey Hepburn to pronounce her vowels in Received Pronunciation ‘How now brown cow’, with the emphasis on the ‘AOWW’ sound – whilst she responded with a glorious fake Cockney accent ” Ahr, nahr, brahn, carh’. Ah, such wonderful films of my youth!
These cattle were a mixture of heifers, bullocks and a few older cows who may have been mothers to some of the herd. They were almost uniformly brown, a gorgeous russet brown, expertly co-ordinated with the autumnal colouring of the trees. Great black eyes fixed upon us as we approached the fence, all with sweeping eyelashes giving each cow a coquettish air of come-hitherliness that was, frankly, most disturbing!
One smaller bullock stood in the centre of the field and stared us down. He was different to everyone else, wearing his tuxedo of deepest black, which shimmered in the evening sunshine as he stepped slowly towards us.
One. Foot. At. A. Time.
Potentially very intimidating, if he wasn’t quite so small and really extraordinarily beautiful.
Gentle lowing filled the peaceful air. Truly, it felt like a small piece of heaven.