Oxfordshire – Summer musings…

Red Kite

Image ©…/20/christmas-red-kites/

“God is not only something metaphysical, but also the physical world, the plants and animals, the mountains and rivers, the air and the sun and the earth.” ― Jeffrey R. Anderson

A golden sea of ripe grain, intersected by frothy and flower filled green hedges like waves upon the deep ocean…. Chaff upon the ground where the harvest has been taken, stubble explored by a pair of Ravens, above a Red Kite playing in the wind, his joy evident at living in the moment… beauty abounds all around if we but choose to see it.. Yet most of those driving through this timeless scene saw nothing but the tarmac and the prospect of their daily grind…..

I consider myself fortunate in both my job and the opportunities for travel and experience that it affords me, this morning’s drive to Oxford for a training session – in the drizzle – was interesting enough, but the return journey, late this afternoon, was just as memorable, if not more so, as now the sky was blue, a few fluffy fair-weather cumulus clouds to highlight the fact, and, strangely enough for an English summers day, the sun was shining…..

Another drive, this time back to my hotel, along the old country lanes of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, through ‘the green and pleasant land’ of old England; the ancient fields lined with established oak, ash, thorn (both haw and black), hazel and willow, the occasional dog rose and the hedgerows filled with a mixture of cow parsley, yarrow, forget-me-not, thistle, chicory, cranesbill and cowslip… a timeless mix of beauty and wilderness that still survives, plants our ancestors would definitely have known well….

Along the way the newly reintroduced Red Kite swooping low above the fields in search of their supper, the beautiful red / brown colours of their feathers reflected in the quick fox – Reynard – who trotted across the road a bare 30’ in front of me, his fur lustrous and his frame replete with the plenty of summer, followed by a black crow, perhaps shooing him off from the vicinity of its nest…. Around another corner to see a large – 18”+ – bird of prey, light brown in colour sat atop the sign for a Golf Club, if I had to identify it I would say a Golden Eagle, yet these are not supposed to reside in the area, probably a large buzzard, but majestic and beautiful none the less.

The journey continued, through villages replete with thatched cottages – worthy of adorning chocolate boxes – past barns that are centuries old, along ancient byways and past churches, pied buildings, manor houses and a restored windmill, survivors of our history that point to times when the pace of life was slower, when perhaps the driver of the Aston Martin who shot in front of me would instead have been astride a horse, and perhaps his life would not need to have been lived at such a breakneck speed….

Allegedly our society is the more advanced one, we have technology that would have been dismissed as ‘witchcraft’ in previous times, yet, for all our progress are we any happier than our Ancestors? In moving forwards what have we lost and chosen to leave behind us? For myself the question has to be asked, are we not the poorer for the loss of our culture and our ways? I am not saying that lives were easy in the past, certainly they were harsher, but in facing the challenges, and in working together as a community there is an argument for a greater richness in those simpler times, and us, with all our modern comforts and conveniences, diversions that steal our time and numb our brains and bodies with a sensory overload of the unimportant, are we truly the superior?

Just some thoughts and observations, make of them what you will or won’t…..

Breacca of Albion