Radio Lento podcast

120 Secrets in the spring air - inland coastal country

May 21, 2022

On the footpath from Winchelsea to Rye (the one that goes inland and round in a long loop) we came across a small copse of trees in the corner of a field, by a heavy metal gate. The spot was surrounded on all sides by fields and pastures. The day was starting to get hot, so under the shade we just stood at the gate, to take in the air.

Above the baa-ing of sheep and lambs, and the melodic callings of woodland birds, the trees, tops against the blue sky, were waving slightly in the spring breeze. They stood together, turning the moving air into soft susurating sound. Vague voices seemed to waft from somewhere. Perhaps it was the farm we saw signposted a little further on.

It was the space underneath the trees that possessed the most mesmerising feel. The trees seemed to somehow distil the landscape. We set up the mics, then walked on, to let them capture the quiet alone.

With us gone, they captured the singing birds, and the insect hum. The grazing sheep and lambs, and two propeller planes, high over, with ocean views of the coast. They caught the cracklings of drying twigs amongst the dense leaf litter, and that strange nameless blur that time makes as it passes in a quiet country place. They witnessed a squirrel too, noisily nosing about on dried broken bark and leaves between the trees, and later jumping through the branches. Quietest of all though, and right at the end, they caught the distant passing calls (extreme right of scene) of a cuckoo. 

-- Cuckoos are the most fleeting of England's migrant birds spending only about three weeks here to lay their eggs, before flying back to Africa, They never get to see their chicks, but still the young birds once fledged still manage to follow their parent back to the same place in Africa.

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