Summer Magic

By Joan Farnell

With a whirring of wings the pigeon took to the air, startled by the crunching of my feet on the gravel path. It was quiet here underneath the trees in Foxes Forest. The thunder-like rumble from the nearby motorway was now reduced to a muted thrum, thanks to lockdown. I watched idly as two coots moved jerkily across the opaque green water of the moat, causing ripples to circle out and fall gently as wavelets on the shore.

The sun was still bright overhead, but down here twilight was weaving meshes of mystery among the hawthorn and ivy thickets. Pausing in a still-remaining patch of sun, I decided to take the track by Bastion 3 that leads upwards, dark and tunnel-like between tall trees. It looked almost forbidding, but once inside the light was deep green, and slender sunrays filtered through the foliage.

Walking lost in thought, I became aware of sounds like soft music. Stopping for a moment, I held my breath and listened hard, but there was only the soft shushing sound of the wind in the leaves. Shaking my head, I wandered on to the top of the path then leaned on the fence for a rest, and again the sound of a wind-borne melody came to my ears, the gentle fluting of panpipes. I gazed around the woodland and my eyes widened in wonder, for there, in a pool of bright sunlight high in the trees, hundreds of butterflies, gold-brown wings shot through with purple and white, were fluttering in an aerial ballet. Dipping, swirling, breaking into separate groups then joining together again. Dancing around each other, rippling up and down, following the rhythms of the unseen piper. I felt a longing to dance with them, to take to the air and glide in the late golden light.

How long did I stand there spellbound? I don’t know. I blinked my eyes as if waking from a dream. The music had stopped. The winged dancers were gone. I waited, hoping they’d return, but silence surrounded me. Dusk was spreading dark shadows over the high path, banishing the enchantment.

Slowly, and sadly, I made my way back down the now dim path. With every step the sounds of evening came back into my world; the lilting sound of a blackbird’s song; the blackcap’s liquid trill; the squawky ka ka ka scolding of a magpie.

It was beautiful summer magic, but I longed for the butterflies’ dance.

Inspiration: The inspiration for my story came from a walk I took on a balmy early summer evening when I really did see the butterflies dancing.

Pens of the Earth is about encouraging writers to celebrate existing environmental initiatives, and to imagine what might be.

Help us to support our global reforestation charity Tree Sisters and plant 2,000 trees by March 2021.

Click on the logo above to donate via Pens of the Earth’s TreeSisters page. Every £10 plants around 25 trees.

Learn more about Pens of the Earth:

Sign up to the Pens of the Earth mailing list.

Follow Pens of the Earth on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed.

Star & Crescent are proud to support Pens of the Earth as a media partner. Stay up to date with all the Pens of the Earth stories as they’re published here.

Image by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay.

S&C is managed and operated by a small team who work on a voluntary and freelance basis to run our website, social media and engage with local residents and communities.

If you want to find out more about the challenges facing local independent news: visit the #SaveIndependentNews campaign website, get involved with S&C, donate, and help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you want to know more about us, click here.