Country Life UK|May 27, 2020
I heard a cuckoo yesterday, booming its woodwind diphone call from the darkening copse on the hill. And I remembered a ditty from my country childhood:
What do you do?
In April, I open my bill.
In May, I sing night and day.
In June, I change my tune.
In July, far, far, I fly.
In August, away! I must…
When a cuckoo sings evensong, fair weather follows the next day. The bird did not deceive. The sun is now glossing the backs of the cattle as they amble down for their 3 pm gather at the water-bowser, much as human office workers congregate around the water cooler at this time.
Actually, it must be after 3 pm. The scarlet pimpernel at my feet has closed its heads; of the components of the floral dial, Anagallis arvensis is almost Swissly reliable. But not yet 5 pm, as the dandelions are still—just—sunning their faces. (The Victorian parson-naturalist Rev James Neil has a complete English wildflower clock in Rays from the Realms of Nature.)
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May 27, 2020