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What To Look For In Spring? Hope

Are you afraid of what is not there? I am. Several times now I’ve cycled across the ford to reach my traditional meet and greet spot for swallows as they touchdown on their annual return from Africa. Bound tightly in black plastic liner with a mean little island in the middle, the agricultural reservoir never looks very promising. But when a ‘fall’ of weary migrant birds arrives it is oasis enough. Away for a few days at Easter, I thought I would miss the reservoir moment this time. In Wiltshire I saw two swallows that had already paired up. I cycled along country lanes with thatched walls and fantasy cottages, lush fields falling away to the banks of a glittering river. The kind of scene that makes you fantasise that swallows have always been here and will return, year after year after year. The kind of scene drip-fed by the pages of nostalgia I cherish in my collection of 1960s Ladybird ‘What To Look For In Spring’ books. Pages of what’s supposed to be here, but also pages of absence

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