Friday, 26 June 2009

Eating an Orange

This morning I got up at six o'clock, jumped onto the mountainbike and went off for a ride. It was just a little chilly. There was a bitter but pleasant tang in the air that always reminds me of camping, of sticking my head out of a tent doorway first thing in the morning. The sky was full of blue-grey clouds with an occasional narrow streak of blue sky. On the pull up to the summit of the road over Bellerby Moor three crows were disembowelling a dead rabbit. I got the impression that they flew off far sooner than they would have had I been in a car. Was it because pushbikes, unlike cars, have a human on the outside, or was it just a question of familiarity? They probably see fifty cars coming towards them for every bike.
Most of the moorland in the immediate vicinity is used by the MOD for training and is hedged round with warning signs and red flags. However, not all of it is, and close to the summit I dismounted, and climbed a small hillock. It was a place I had not paid much attention to in the past and I was struck by how one notices such details in the landscape when riding a bike. At the top, I sat myself on a rock and ate an orange. On most days I would have enjoyed a clear view of Pen Hill and the other sizeable hills of Coverdale but this morning there was simply a blue-grey haze where the hills ought to be.

Photo: (c) Malcolm Street
Licenced for reuse under a Creative Commons licence

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The Weaver of Grass said...

I think you are right about the crows - I don't think birds see cars as anything of a threat apart from them getting run over! I have seen super bird life from inside a car - lesser spotted woody landed less than a foot away on the hedge once and chaffinch will come on to the bonnet for crumbs.

Ann oDyne said...

I always think that about birds!
Walking along a street seeing birds on the ground wuite close to passing traffic (rosellas, magpies) and oblivious, yet when I draw near, a tiny quiet pedestrian, they go Ark! a person! and swoosh away. birdbrains.

Lovely post dear DR, and photo - over the hill and far away.

Susan at Stony River said...

Whenever I walk down our local road I'm struck by what a different place it is than when I'm in a car. Amazing what we see and don't.

I love that moment of waking up and leaving the tent that you mentioned, when camping: the smell of earth and trees, and that lovely hushing-wind sound never turns out to be just a passing car. Bliss!

Poet in Residence said...

great way
to peel
an orange

Get Off My Lawn! said...

We have Blue Grouse. They are god to eat and I have attended a few hunts (without shooting at anything myself, mind you). They are quite difficult to track down, spot and get off a shot. They are very savvy when it comes to people.
But its hard not to run them over on the road. They feeze when a vehicle comes toward them, as if they were trying to blend in witht the gravel. If they do dodge, its always the wrong way. Is it all birds?

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

WG: If only they knew.

AoD: Perhaps they have the right idea. Ark! People! I know the feeling...

Susan: Bliss indeed. I've a mountain of paperwork to do just now, but when it's finished... out'll come the tent!

PiR: It took me a while to click! Good short poem/picture. Afterwards:

GOML: It'll be interesting to see how things evolve. Sheep, for example, are learning to roll over cattle grids. Cars haven't been around very long, in the great scheme of things, so bird behaviour might well change over the years.

Poetikat said...

You paint quite a scene here, Dominic. I think I would have to write a poem about your experience - the contrast of the gory disembowelling against the juicy sensation of eating an orange in the crisp air. Wow.


P.S. (I will look forward to gaining my young old person status.)

Heather said...

My husband has had to sound the horn and slow right down to avoid running birds over! You have your mother's talent for letting us accompany you on your bike rides and walks via your blog. Thanks for visiting mine - the passion flower is growing apace and now has several blooms. Like your convolvulus in an earlier post, we may disappear beneath a rampant passion flower!! Maybe they are from outer space after all.

Lyn said...

I am so taken with your the introduction to a mystery..Maybe Rendell, maybe P.D.'s the crows, I think. The orange must have been delicious!

Dominic Rivron said...

I never thought of it as the basis for a bit of fiction - but now you mention it... Thanks for that.

Ernesto said...

Very evocative post- and inspiring. Reminded me I've been sitting here for a long time- even if I just came back from holidays last weekend!

Pauline said...

thanks for taking us along on the ride!