Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Voice of the Turtle

Hilarious scenes are unfolding in Chipping Norton where an-ultra-rare sighting of an Oriental Turtledove in a back garden has sparked twitching frenzy among the anorak-and-bins brigade. Ignoring Jeremiah's strictures - 'Even the stork in the heavens knows its times; and the turtledove, swallow, and crane observe the time of their coming' - this unfortunate bird has found itself decidedly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Let's hope the poor thing continues to elude the twitching throng and survives the cold.
I remember Turtledoves - the non-Oriental kind - from boyhood summers, especially on the wooded cliffs at Folkestone, but I haven't seen one in England for years, nor heard that sweet soothing song... 'For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.'
How far the frenzy in Chipping Norton seems from the poetry and beauty of the turtledove.