It’s that blue sky again, outside my window. The wall-to-wall blue that I can’t stop looking at. As still and solid and evenly blue as our daughter’s bedroom wall after its second coat of paint.
It’s the same blue sky as when I saw buzzards, not just one or two but loads of them, riding a thermal. Stopping my bike for a proper look. The lazy spirals, the broad wings, the wide sky, and the silence.
Then I’m counting them, trying not to count any twice, counting again to be sure, and in my head I’m already home and telling T, ‘I saw all these buzzards. Fourteen of them. It was amazing.’
My experience narrowing as it turns into a number, as it turns into small, limited thoughts. As I count, it feels as if the sides of my head, specifically my temples, are being cranked ever so slightly closer together.
Coming back to watching the buzzards drifting in circles.
Just as I’m starting to get bored, and my neck’s hurting from craning at the sky, there’s a bit of excitement. One divebombs another; a quick skirmish.
There’s the sound of a car on the A39 a mile or so away. Maybe thirty whole seconds before the sound of another. There’s the beating of my heart. The single tiny plane, high up, a metal splinter in the clean blue air.
That was then. A few weeks into lockdown. And now the traffic on the A39 is almost continuous again. The beaches, the beauty spots, and the silence are filling in. The blue sky is still here, but for how long?
Back on the bike, slogging up a hill. Then down through the roaring air, then up, this time carried by momentum, up and over. A quick push on the pedals, a couple of wing flaps, to keep it all going, and I’m rocketing down again, then levelling out. I feel light and lovely, being a buzzard, standing on the pedals, swooping side to side across the painted centre line on the wide empty road.