Last week the sign appeared. It looked innocuous until you read it. It announced the death of the fields. Housing development was imminent. For me the fields were like a taste of country in the city, an ever changing landscape. A place where I could catch glimpses of beautiful sunrises.
A place where I could watch the changing crops and seasons, one year the fields were yellow from the rape seed flowers, another year they were golden from ears of corn.
A place where wildlife could be seen, butterflies dancing among the nettles, a pheasant making a break for it and running giddily across the field into the distance. Once I disturbed a heron standing in the stream, contemplating the water, before it took off with its wide wings beating the air. A place of tranquillity, where a morning walk is filled with bird song. A place with hidden secrets, where we found hidden apple trees and blackberry bushes. We picked the bounty and went home to make apple and blackberry strudel. A place filled with memories.
We went for a walk by the fields before they disappeared. Taking in the view under brooding skies that were filled with foreboding. The dog was happy to run and play along familiar paths. Happy to be off the lead and exploring. My son ran with him, they raced each other, seeing who was faster.
We reached the dipping pools, nothing stirring in the water, no pond skaters or dragonflies until the weather gets warmed. The floor was muddy as it had been raining and the dog turned from white to brown. We stopped at a bench for a while, taking in the view.
As the skies grew darker we decided to head for home. We had left it late, hail rained down, stinging our faces and turning our hands numb. We ran, trying to find cover. Heading for the woods where we might find shelter under the trees.
We got home and made hot drinks, cold but happy from our walk. Enjoying the fields for the last time. Now the diggers and bulldozers have started to appear. Orange lines mark where the houses will be built and portacabins are being put into place. The work will begin soon and the fields will die.