Big, gawky and angular, I am not sure what it is I am seeing. A matte mottled brown and tan back, with hints of grey, copper and blonde. More colour with richness and depth than one would think, and a pinch of dark fur accentuating a white tip underneath. Both of us taken by surprise, I slow and it quickens. I assume it is a small dog and quickly scan the fields and laneside for its human companion. It follows the verge, preferring to lollop on the tarmac than on the grass and celandines. Then it reaches a break in the hedgerow and an open gate into the arable field. It banks into the green and is away. Its cover is broken and I see it for what it is. That awkward gait gives way to grace, style and speed. Long ears and even longer strong hind legs. Hareing across the wide open land it’s over in a flash. A fleeting glimpse of the fleet of foot.
The gulls have been blown inland. They hop about on the newly, artificially, sprouting pointillism fields, which are still muddy and waterlogged in places, punctuating the spaces like exclamation marks between the jackdaws and rooks. They look like a muddled game of draughts. I look to the right where a cluster of corvids dance in the blustery weather. When they rise the black birds are buffeted haphazardly and strewn across the countryside, like pieces of blackened cinders or bits of ragged burnt black plastic rising from a bonfire. The gulls though soar high and swoop low. Flashes of golden white catching on the broken sun, highlighted bright and gleaming against the steel clouds, more used to the high winds and storms of the sea. To the left and up high amongst bare branches an oversized glint of unnaturally immaculate filmy white catches my eye and for the second time I am surprised. Gulls do not perch in trees. There is high energy flaying and flapping, a yearning to be free, handles caught, like a child being held by both hands but pulling in excitement. But this is more of a demon. ‘It does not have a soul, but imitates one’, as it rises and floats, billows full one moment and exhales the next, collapsing in on itself. Stronger and less perishable than its flimsy nature suggests it remains snagged on a limb. Eyeless, wingless and senseless, a hawk or kite of another kind, it nevertheless soars. One day these wild windblown ‘fouliages’ might be a fleeting reminder that other wild and windblown creatures once flew in these skies.