How deep is it? It is rumoured that a workman’s hut, telegraph pole and even an old yellow Bulldozer lay hidden in its murky depth. We certainly didn’t know, nor did we care.
Stories of monster Fish, that waited hidden in lairs for a meal to pass by, Animals, drawn by thirst to the water’s edge, soon found themselves stuck in the squelching, sucking clay, death soon followed.
The spirit of childhood adventure erased the thought of such stories from our minds.
On a hot Summer’s Day the cool water of the Marl-hole beckoned. It was a magnet, and us Kids, oblivious to its hidden dangers, were powerless to resist its pull.
After a long Day in the classroom, we would race home, skipping and hollowing with joy, free at last. Yippee! Yahoo!
Once Home, we would hurriedly change out of our School clothes into our scruffs. Ignoring warnings from our Mothers, we’d race out of the door back into the unsupervised outdoors.
With Skylarks rising in song above the golden wheat, across the fields we’d go.
The excitement evident in our voices.
” I wonder if any big Boys are there.” Said Picnic.
” Hope not, and if those fishermen are there, we’ll just stone their floats.” Proclaimed Bomma.
Yeah! Or torch the Gorse.” Agreed Picnic.
The Marl-hole was deserted, the only sound was that of a singing Yellow-hammer and the buzz of Summer Insects.
Excitedly we ran to our chosen place on the bank, stripped to our undies and one after the other we dived in.
Picnic first. Splash! He surfaced, shook his head, and in a gasping voice egged us on to follow.
Bomma followed. A better dive. He disappeared into the clay coloured water, gone.
We scanned the still surface in silence, expecting Bomma to explode from the depths back into our World.
Was it one of those monster Fish, or was it a coil of rusty Wire-rope that held him under?
The Yellow-hammer sang and the Insects buzzed, a menacing smile rippled the Marl-hole’s surface.
It is now October, and winter is on the doorstep. We cannot delay or halt its progress, time waits for no man. We can only prepare for the shorter days and long cold nights.
The jigsaw of summer past has been completed, and is now, piece by piece, being dismantled.
The Swallows have departed, only their old nests and the memory of their presence remain.
Young Robins are now moulted into adult plumage, they sing their winter song each morning at the first sign of sunlight.
Summer is a time of plenty, a time of beauty. I suppose, lots of other reasons make it everyone else’s favorite too. Sun-glasses and G&T aside, there have been a few mini-disasters, like the daily attacks of the Sparrow Hawk on the feeding station, the lightning fast strikes made by the Hobby, causing alarm and despondency amongst the Swallow community, the Heron deploying its stealth tactics, and picking off the ducklings one by one as they swam past his place of ambush. Then there was the Swallow nest containing four chicks. As the youngsters grew and gained weight, the mud nest fell from the wall, all four birds were lost.
Summer is not all about ooh’s and aah’s, it is as violent and aggressive as any other season of year.
Already, Siskins, (soon to be joined by Scandinavian Thrushes) have arrived in the garden. Fallen leaves have turned the lawns into golden tapestries. Such beauty.
Each season has its own merits, and wonderment can be found in each one.
This seasonal transition as been going on for millennia, and will hopefully continue to do so.
Now is the time to plan and prepare next year’s jigsaw.
As I trim hedges, remove dead plants, and generally tidy the place up, I leave any remnant of summer past, such as the last Rose blooms or the Surfinias in the hanging baskets alone.
Maybe I’m trying to hold onto Summer.
It is said that the more you hold onto a something, the harder it is to let it go.
I like to think that I’m in control of things outside in the garden, but it is nature that will make the final decision, and take Summer away.