Hedge hidden song frenzy. A corridor of sound swelling out into the meadow. Muslin curtains breathing out with the breeze.
Sunset. Longest day. Blue skies with pink edges.
The chicks crowd the nest. I hear their staying up late white noise. They gobble down grubs, pushed and shoved in from the looming silhouette of a parent who falls away, clucking into the twilight. They peep out at that soaring sky from inside a thorn framed basket bed. And I wonder when they will first hear that sky calling them.
It's a beautiful way to end the day and I'm wishing all of this was on my back doorstep where I could sit and gaze out until the blue finally fell into the dark. But here comes the treasure. Chard bright lights picked as tender shoots for tomorrow's salad. It has to be the most beautiful leaf you could want to eat. Pink, red and yellow stems lead up to jewelled veins. The waxy perfection of the first courgette. A handful of sugar snap peas, picked by touch as the light fades. The first wild pea flower that will perfume my table over the weekend. Radishes, fluorescent red in this light. A handful of strawberries. The cool touch of rhubarb, for the freezer.
I water the corn, watch the way it makes the water course down to the roots, helter skelter spiral. The sage sways a slow waltz, wafts like a girl who can't give up tonight's dance. We help the sweet peas and french beans find the wigwam canes to hold onto, knowing that they'll reach out the wrong way again tomorrow, holding onto nothing until they get the idea.
And as we go home, the male blackbird skuttles around my feet. It's his patch, after all. We just help him with the digging.