Two days ago I saw a skylark rise far into a cloudless sky, singing for Spring. But not today. Today was an insistence of rain. Not so fast it said. Two days ago, as buzzards wheeled and keened above me I was thinking of the optimistic, idyllic names attached to things around here, including my own unofficial place names. Cottages come with roses, mills come with ponds, the woods are royal and the brook's religious.
But not today. Today my walk was muddy and downbeat, the year's first glimpse of black dog, slip, slidin' away. Evelith Mill had a darker more satanic feel to it. The farms Greenacres and Sunnyside weren't. Catkin Corner edged onto Lonely Horse Paddock. My pilgrim's progress sloughed down through the Copse of Conker Canker to the Manor of Constant Sorrow.
At which point, delighted with my pun, I chucked Bobby in the Wesley, cleaned the mud off my boots, stood soggy-bottomed on the sunken bridge and laughed.