A SUMMER’S DAWN
During the early summer, Merlin knew almost no night. The pale dawn cast its ethereal but dead whiteness over the sleeping fields. A wren – brave little bird – gave her solo notes. At first, the earth still slept, but she had disturbed the conscience of a blackbird, whose little clearing of the throat allowed her to announce the new day. In its turn, the rest of the bird world closed its ranks and then, as Robin listened from his window, the crescendo glory of the morning chorus filled Merlin’s park. Tireless, the cuckoo, who had repeated his beloved call till late into last night, was once again telling of his happiness to be here in the greenness of this tranquil island, far from his southern home. More than one pheasant gave notice of its whereabouts – tame birds, reared by motherly Merlin hens, one day they would rise on the autumn breeze and meet their end through man’s lust to destroy.
The song thrush and robin now, from their different trees, vied with each other to lift their song into the golden rays, heralding the coming of the sun. Across the fields the river, a great grey snake, lay still and from its rushes came one by one the calls of coot, grebe and waterhen. Nearer, a plover raised his worried call above the meadows and from the marshy ground came that of the haunting curlew.