Silence of the Goyt

The sky is so heavy with rain that it is almost touching the purple heather on the hills. A fine mist in the distance heralds the actual rain as curtain after curtain of wet drizzle sweep in and the wind gets up ahead of it. My hands are fully occupied with the dogs leads, and they hunch up to make themselves smaller against the wind and rain.

And then it is gone as quick as it arrived, and the clouds, grey and leaden are chased away by the breeze, and as they go they leave the washed out blue of the sky.

The curlews have left for the coast, taking their young and their mournful sound of summer on the moors with them. The Goyt is silent now, wrapped in late summer mist, an early taste of autumn.

Then amongst the greens, and browns, I see an old familiar shape, an old friend, hunting low, following the contours, a shortie, back in Wildmoorstone after a few years absence. A few swifts hassle the owl but undeterred she carries on quartering the hillside, a single minded quest for food.

In the far distance a deceit of lapwings ride the wind and are gusted towards the owl before being blown away and over the brow of the hills.

The owl’s flight is effortless, a flick of her wing carries her higher and then with wings vee shaped she drops into the heather, but unsuccessful this time she climbs back up and resumes her hunting.

The Goyt is silent. Waiting for winter, for the sounds of the guns that will too briefly shatter the silence, the purple heather will fade, and wither and snow and ice will briefly cover the ground.

The owl will carry on hunting and soon it will be spring again, the curlews will return and the Goyt will echo to their mournful cries.

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