River Wissey Lovell Fuller


July 2009

Another tale from the banks of the River Wissey

The days are hot and tepid. All energy is quickly sapped so an early start is important to fully enjoy the beauty and glory of all about.

It is just light but already the dawn chorus has ended. It is that special time when the whole family of nature is stirring. Paths cross as some are starting whilst others are returning home. There is so much energy and activity yet most of us are still in bed! Nearby a field full of rabbits scamper and bob this way and that. During recent weeks they have closely cropped the several acres of meadow and there is now precious little cover for anyone else. Molehills show everywhere and provide vantage points for those few rabbits who are content to watch the perpetual motion of their brothers and sisters.

In contrast the faithful river Wissey is perfectly still. Nothing stirs. Any flow is invisible to the eye and, because of the hour, it has its faint veil of haze. Giant water lily pads breach the margins but the flowers are still fast asleep in their tight buds. The red tip of a float completes the perfect picture. Peace rules supreme!

Our rabbit friends are one large family as they all share the same parentage and they all live in the endless warren beneath the hedgerow skirting the river. Their white waistcoats and tails catch the first beams of the sun, which has just peeped over the far away tree line. With boundless energy they dash and play in their stop and go way. The meadow is heavy with dew and dampens their undersides but not their energy!

As the brightness increases a lone moorhen shatters the peace and pops out of the reed beds. The half-hearted attempt at flight sees her splash noisily along the surface of the water before disappearing into the other side of the river. The disturbance soon settles and calm returns. The early warmth has triggered the dragonflies and they flash and catch the eye with their bright kingfisher colours. A close inspection of the shallows shows a mass of new fry and like the rabbits they dart endlessly but go nowhere.

The sun climbs higher and higher towards its apex. The heat and glare intensifies. There is no breath in the air. The forecasters were right - the weather is unchanged for yet another day. As if by magic the rabbits have disappeared. Are they merely exhausted or are they being sensible and avoiding a tan. A frog and his mate break the surface through the duckweed and remain motionless just watching and pondering the surroundings. They have the perfect environment for such a day!

The heat reaches a new level when the eye is interrupted by a heron landing on the opposite bank. Just like an old gentleman slowly taking down a large umbrella it folds away its enormous spread of wings and steps down into the shallows to seek relief. With its statue pose it is instantly lost against the mottled background. All movement and sound has now ceased and is over powering. Our rabbits are fast asleep in the cool of their underground home as the state of nothingness takes over.

It is now red hot. Any fishing is pointless. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a change but we must wait and see. Extreme heat is another person's pleasure so it is fortunate that we cannot yet control such matters. Who knows, such a day may eventually come, and then what arguments and conflict there will be!

Ivor Hook

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