The First of the Poppies


The giant poppies are just breaking into bloom.  It always staggers me to see them unfurl their crushed silk petals and stand tall.  The sun shines through them, bringing their colour into vibrant glory.  The petals are so delicate and fragile, one finger touch and they are bruised, yet they force the hard bud cases to open and release them.  I am reminded, once again, that it is not only the visibly forceful who can achieve amazing things.  Around them the bees are heady with excitement, buzzing about, pushing aside the trembling black stamens inside as they hunt out the nectar.

The thin line in the background is the electricity cable going up to our neighbour.  A few months ago the pigeons took to treating it as their local night club and we watched them sidling up to each other, ducking their heads up and down.  Actually the females were very nonchalant, busy examining their feet, and burnishing their feathers  sidestepping neatly when the males got too close.  Persistent males pursued them the whole way up the line, but the females weren’t bothering to fly away, which they easily could have done if they were genuinely uninterested.  Now they are all paired up and digging about in the dry earth of the vegetable garden, looking for food.  I have had to net the new shoots to protect them from beaks.  I like birds, but not enough to give them my peas.

Shadow lurks darkly in the shade of the blackcurrant bushes.  She knows it is only a matter of time before she has pigeon supper.  I frown at her, but it is as much in her nature to pounce on supper, as it is in theirs to play on the dancing cable.


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