This is the entertaining and productive output from hour-long nature-writing workshops in which we talked about introducing dialogue in our nature writing. Enjoy!
(This lovely picture of an eyed hawkmoth was taken by Thea Nicholls )
“It’s not actually ‘talking’ to you” my husband said.
“It is” I replied. “It’s tone changes when I respond.”
“Have you seen it?” he asked.
“Yes.” I thought of the night of the full moon when the owl
glided silently onto a neighbouring roof, like a magic carpet.
Grass and catsear arc across the viewfinder, silhouetted against the
flat Cheshire skyline.
‘What are you doing?’ my granddaughter asks, exploring the castle ramparts.
I lift her onto a stone ledge. She peers through the lens.
‘It’s a little dandelion,’ she says.
She presses the button, fixing the moment.
Boy barrels in, pulls me towards the window.
Beyond the glass, a muntjac chomps on bramble leaves.
Sshhh. Don’t frighten her.
Her. Clocking the horns, I silently draw my own conclusion.
Boy though points to its head, the plain brown muzzle.
Tufts, not horns, he says.
Sarah Hill Wheeler
“Another one! This one’s bigger.” We lean in to watch eight delicate
ticklish legs scuttle up an arm.
“You’ve got one on your forehead! Climbing a hair!” Again we peer in,
extricate carefully, Google to try to identify the endlessly dropping
arachnids. Reluctant conclusion;
“I think they’re all money spiders.”
“Come on, sheep need checking.”
“Trilling.” – (suspected treecreeper alert!)
“Didn’t hear.” – (distracted by speckled woods)
“Sorry.” – (distracted by woodpecker)
“On branch- oh, great tits.”
“Above! – nuthatches, look their nesthole lined with mud.”
“Brilliant. There’s always something new we find.”
Now, what were we doing?
Seen/Scene in My Garden
Roses: “City of York” – white, naturally – hug “Whitby’s Arch”,
reminiscent of the whale bones great on West Cliff.
Meanwhile, “Fire Dance”, blood red, twists around another portal,
by “Crocosmia Lucifer” yet to bloom,
announcing the path to “Devil’s Chimney”.
“You mean the Compost Bin, Mum!”
We listened in the twilight.
Twweee, twee, lah, la, lah, dduuzzzz.
La, la, tweet.
“On the power line.”
And there it is, a nightingale, his tail quivering at the effort of his unique song.
“He obviously didn’t get the sing in low scrub memo.”
“It’s June, he’s desperate!”
Jakob, look what I’ve found!’, I said excitedly.
‘What is it?’ His head appeared above the fence.
I waved a wilting piece of hedge garlic at him. He looked underwhelmed.
I turned the plant so he could see the huge hawkmoth hanging there.
‘Wow!’, he said, ‘it’s so pretty’.