april in extremadura, after a record-breakingly wet march; a month of explosive growth and activity.
nightingales, singing around every corner, day and night,
cuckoos in contrapuntal harmony with hoopoes, bee-eaters warbling and tumbling above, sleepy turtle doves turring in the trees behind the house, blackbirds carolling at dawn and dusk, swallows (two kinds, barn and red-rumped) sipping mud from the puddles for their nests, azure-winged magpies stealing cat food and sitting on my railings to see if there were any more on my porch,
dartford warblers sizzling away in the cork oaks, sardinian warblers flitting about in the encinas, water rushing everywhere noisily,
frogs croaking in a range of voices from basso profundo to strangulated tenor high C, enormous puddles full of tadpoles, newts and salamanders in the pool,
cicadas and other noisy insects creaking away in every olive tree.
in succession, yellow flowers, white flowers
green flowers, dramatic umbellifers; wildflowers in great clumps like flowerbeds everywhere, lining the steep paved mule-tracks and donkey paths; all over my olive grove and in every little stone-walled pasture.
white horses and white cattle
that climb all over the steep sierra, so that I catch glimpses of them under the highest peaks from my bedroom window, which faces that way. So many shades of green as bracken, broom, bramble and deciduous oaks came to life.
olive trees full of flower, evergreen oak catkins showering us with golden pollen, gum cistus smelling of paradise, their huge white flowers all over a distant hillside and each side of the track.
waterfalls in all the old places, and in new ones, water spouting out of terrace walls, flooding my pool pump room, filling the old well and all the charkas, filling narrow paths with knee-deep pools, water glinting in the sun as it ran over rocks high up amongst the trees.
now I’m back to real life and spring only just creaking to life in may; a dry windswept north norfolk, primroses and violets still out in the hedgerows, baby lambs in the field – I didn’t miss a thing.