Two very different days in the Usk Valley, one full of hot sun and butterflies and the other grey, cold and wet after days of thunder and heavy downpours.
On Friday, walked up the Olway valley, through Llandenny and then up and along the ridge at Great House Farm.Saw lots of small birds along the brook; tits, finches, pied and grey wagtails bobbing on the pebbly shore of the brook. Up to the ridge the farmer has left some lovely meadow land which was full of huge purple bunches of knapweed. The insects love this and it was alive with butterflies of all sorts, the first painted ladies I've seen this year. The views up on the ridge are beautiful, the Abergavenny hills on one side, and wentwood and surrounding hills on the other. The thermal currents rising out of the two valleys up to the ridge must be incredible as there were at least fifty ravens up there all enjoying the warm blue skies and doing their amazing aerial acrobatics. I love watching ravens flying, you can tell that they fly for the sheer joy of it!
|Illustration available here|
Today, walked along the Usk river to The Bryn in the pouring rain. Lots of common sandpipers and a redshank on the river beaches, as well as mallards,canada geese, herons and some young great created grebes.The clouds were very black and low, obliterating the surrounding hillsides.
Storm and Sunlight-Siegfreid Sassoon.
In barns we crouch, and under stacks of straw,
Harking the storm that rides a hurtling legion
Up the arched sky, and speeds quick heels of panic
With growling thunder loosed in fork and clap
That echoes crashing thro’ the slumbrous vault.
The whispering woodlands darken: vulture Gloom
Stoops, menacing the skeltering flocks of Light,
Where the gaunt shepherd shakes his gleaming staff
And foots with angry tidings down the slope.
Drip, drip; the rain steals in through soaking thatch
By cob-webbed rafters to the dusty floor.
Drums shatter in the tumult; wrathful Chaos
Points pealing din to the zenith, then resolves
Terror in wonderment with rich collapse.
Now from drenched eaves a swallow darts to skim
The crystal stillness of an air unveiled
To tremulous blue. Raise your bowed heads, and let
Your horns adore the sky, ye patient kine!
Haste, flashing brooks! Small, chuckling rills, rejoice!
Be open-eyed for Heaven, ye pools of peace!
Shine, rain-bow hills! Dream on, fair glimpsèd vale
In haze of drifting gold! And all sweet birds,
Sing out your raptures to the radiant leaves!
And ye, close huddling Men, come forth to stand
A moment simple in the gaze of God
That sweeps along your pastures! Breathe his might!
Lift your blind faces to be filled with day,
And share his benediction with the flowers.