Postcard from the happy wanderer.
07:55 a.m. deep in Oxfordshire, in-country, as it were.
They start early here, the twitchers and the ramblers,
red-gaitered, be-sticked, armed with binoculars
and dangling cameras with large hooded lenses.
Small groups, deep in hushed conversation,
as ineluctible as the pillows of morning mist
hanging in the fields and gentle valley dips.
This is serious anorak territory.
I am just the happy wanderer, caught up in it,
but I have already seen the buzzards,
circling the gravel pits,
seen the fox too, in good nick he was,
fat from the glut of reedbed mice.
The trees are turning now,
blazing colours that herald winter
and celebrate the death of summer,
and the air hangs heavy
with the scent of the earth.
They roar and scream, at low level.
Giant engines whining in protestation,
trailing black fumes that shimmer,
momentarily, in the scorching exhaust.
As the transport planes climb,
lazy and improbable,
angled up towards cruising altitude.
Illuminated by the morning sun,
carrying many a mother's son,
full of nervous bravado.
After the good-luck party,
and the pats on the back,
and the shaking of hands.
These huge planes growl through the Oxfordshire air,
taking troops to the conflict in Afghanistan.
And the morning traffic hums on the distant by-pass.
And the buzzards spiral up in the air.
And the planes look dark from underneath.
And the quality of light reminds me,
of another time in another somewhere.
As the serious arty-types gather,
to seek enlightened inspiration,
the planes remind me of Cornwall, and seagulls
facing into a freshening headwind.
But these are differing flights,
with different destinations.
These are young men, one of them was my son.
Steered by a lack of opportunity,
and because working at Asda was utter shite.
And because they wanted some kind of adventure.
Wanedt the purpose put back into life.
And I am, for the moment at least, the happy wanderer.
I sleep outdoors as I travel,
as the transporters fly,
guided by stars in the night.
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