I can hear blackcap song from the bath. This latest revelation came to me late morning on the Saturday before Easter, as spring sunshine pulled the windows of our little flat wide open against a chill breeze. I had been gardening since breakfast, and had just retreated indoors to clean up before the Other Half returned home from an appointment he’d had to keep that morning.
Blackcap, from the bath. I sat there in the lukewarm water, staring as a speck of garden dirt pirouetted with a soap bubble, suddenly aware of details of my surroundings that seemed oddly relevant. The blossom-weight light from the window above, the cobweb behind the pipes of the sink that I could see from only this angle, the wonky jaunt of the loo roll holder where diy skills went awry, and again the blackcap song from the lilac hedge or perhaps the brambles beyond, at the edge of the neighbours garden. Those overlooked, looked-through, everyday breath glances, that fill the unconscious with a hue of home.
We’ve lived here for 7 months. Watched the stars glinting overhead in the rural-dark on autumn evenings, shivered at Halloween. Returned home here to contented sleep after welcoming the turn of the seasons with a wild food feast shared in the forest. We’ve had Christmas, strung with fairy lights and dried orange slices. Spring has arrived on bumblebee wings, with blue and yellow bulbs and pear blossom. Pheasants have eaten the grass seed we put down on patches on the lawn. Sheep have moved into the meadow next door. The wood behind is greening, lit first by chandeliers of hazel catkins then clouded by blackthorn blossom. Chiffchaff returned, then blackcap.
You can’t force a place to accept you. It reveals elements of itself daily, in every change of light, season, weather-front. Migrant bird or emergent insect, the order the blossom opens in the mixed orchard. Plum and pear, cherry, then apple, walnut. The habitual head-turn as you slow past the gateway down the lane each long afternoon as you return from work, scanning for sheep, rabbit, fox. The noise of nesting rooks in the bud-tight ash trees by the old railway bridge, and the ones in the taller trees across the road by the pub.
Blackcap song from the bath.