In the fading light of a late afternoon, I step outside and venture out into my garden for some air. I potter about, tending my flowers, when suddenly a noise draws me from my hazy state and I look up into the sky.
The sound – a shimmering sigh, like someone drawing back silk curtains – is caused by the solidarity of a murmuration of starlings. A ‘murmuration’ – such a strange word – to me , it sounds like the ‘murmuring of nature’.
Which is exactly what it is. Such a beautiful display to behold – hundreds of beating wings, all moving as one. How many of us miss this, going about the humdrum of our day. It was the eerie sound which drew my attention skyward. I stand there, waiting, and I’m not disappointed. A minute goes by, and another body of birds throng and swoop in another part of the sky, this time slightly further away.
I am metres away from the telegraph wire where I saw my birds grouped together last year. This inspired my ‘November Skies’ piano piece. A few days ago, I was outside sketching the beach at Trebah, when a gust of a breeze and a beating sound jolted me from my artwork. A friendly robin, who I had noticed earlier, had flown past my head and landed close to me on the stone wall. I have always appreciated birdsong since I was a small child listening to the sounds of nature as I fell asleep, but I had never before noticed the delicate sound of birds in flight, as their wings beat a soft rhythm in the air.
The more I immerse myself in nature, the more I am drawn to do it more and more. It is like a spiritual vocation. Sitting in solitude, observing the landscape, the weather and the creatures which inhabit the world with us – these things have become my muse. My urge to create something from that stimulus is passionate and true.