Before Christmas, I watched a goldcrest nimble and light in a tall and slender birch. I saw only the silhouette and that light and acrobatic movement but I knew for sure.
My only goldcrest image is from Dumfries and Galloway, November 2016. I doubt I'll leave home until I have my visitor's picture.
My neighbour Angela recently told me she'd seen one in their garden so they may breed hereabouts.
When I lived in Bristol my local patch was Blaise Castle and ancient woodland with conifers, oaks and spindle. Goldcrest are confiding birds and I loved to watch them, so the jizz is embedded. Nothing flits through branches in that light and airy manner. Con brio, that's their way.
I've seen four goldcrests in the garden, this millennium. Never before on a bird feeder. A glimpse of the secret lives all about us, if only we look.
My heart leaps up. I've known Wordsworth's poem far longer than I can remember but the power of it struck me afresh this week. I read and reread through a spectrum of time, through a spectrum of rainbows. My teenage self could not know where life might take me and it reads more richly now.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Have you always been a naturalist, someone asked me on Tom Heights this week. Simply, yes I have. Always.
At Dowsborough Iron Age fort in the Quantocks, oak trees shimmered as the low sun struck raindrops and light refracted. The first time I had seen rainbow lights in a winter tree. Sunlight after rain and the garden birch can shimmer with rainbow lights. The effect is elusive, alignment is all.
A rainbow, a goldcrest: what does it for you? Ask your friends. My heart leaps up when-----