If song were solid…

By Roula30, via Wikimedia Commons
By Roula30, via Wikimedia Commons

It was the snails that got me thinking…

On my walks at Stanwick Lakes, at least on those fairly early in the morning, I am sometimes struck by the trails of snails, and the occasional slug, across the gritty tracks.  Although almost all the molluscs are departed one can see where they have been on the gravelly surface (and I think I have noticed something interesting about that too, but that’s for another time).

The departed molluscs have left a trail, perhaps like the bleeping of a black box deep below the ocean (or perhaps not) or the Facebook page of a departed friend (or perhaps not), but certainly a trail.

The Willow Warblers have been at Stanwick Lakes for about 10 days now, but only in small numbers until today where they seemed to be everywhere.  I don’t know whether they might almost literally push aside Chiffchaffs but suddenly there seem to be Willow Warblers singing from every bush – often the very top of the bush, shrub or tree.   One sang from the top of a crab apple which was just coming into early flower.

And, as I say, I think it was the snails that got me thinking in this way: what if song were solid? What if those cascades of song pouring out of the Willow Warblers’ mouths had substance?  What if the bushes and trees were dripping with a sweet viscous substantive form of song?

I imagine that Willow Warbler song would be like a thicker version of maple syrup – sweet to the taste, as it is to the ear.  It would run down the twigs slowly. If we could reach to touch it and lick our fingers then it would be delightfully sweet and refreshing – whereas perhaps Chiffchaff song would be more zesty and citrus?

On my walk this morning I would have seen the tops of many bushes dripping with song – sweet cadences dribbling down the stems and twigs.  That is, if song were solid and Willow Warblers left a trail.

But maybe such talk of dribbling is drivelling.

Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de via wikimedia commons
Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de via wikimedia commons



4 Replies to “If song were solid…”

  1. See that Portland report only a quarter of migrants netted this month so far compared with last year which was supposed to be a bad spring,maybe it is not only farmland and woodland birds suffering serious declines.

  2. Your blog’s so appropriate today I awoke to a Willow Warbler singing outside my bedroom window this morning joining the dawn chorus, spring has really sprung oh what pure joy to listen such pure sweet notes :o)))

    1. Vivienne – isn’t it a fantastic time of year? On nice sunny days there is not better time. Spring is a time of renewal and promise – and hope.

      1. Mark – spring is fantastically exciting, but I think of all the seasons having renewal and promise in them somewhere, e.g. seeing those buds all formed as the autumn leaves fall off. In fact I always used to think August was a bit dull as the birds stopped singing and summer was coming to an end, with everything looking a bit tired, but then noticed the unique beauty like the contrasts between the ripening crops and the dark green leaves, and noticed things like lammas shoots and thought, actually August is also wonderful.

        It’s interesting that we reached the point, possibly in between the first chiffchaff and the first willow warbler, when spring really seems to step on the gas. The first signs of the change from winter to spring are subtle – a hazel catkin here, a snowdrop there, a fine warm day with lots of great tits yelling at you. Then all of a sudden a whole crop of new birds, butterflies and bees are out and about and you realise the predominant colour in the landscape is green because the hawthorne leaves are out. Spring, and the changes in all the seasons, never cease to amaze.

        For what it’s worth, I didn’t think your analogy between song and taste was silly, but rather lovely. What would a great tit be? Nuts?!

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