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Friday, December 19, 2008

Cat and mouse and..

Little scene from Lanzarote wild life, viewed out of Granny's window while she's on phone to Beloved Daughter. Cat strolls along terrace with mouse in mouth. A little later she strolls back, mouse still in mouth and disappears out of sight. A little later still appears a mouse - almost certainly the same mouse: it's a very small one. It takes shelter under the side of a raised flowerbed and remains there -still - most likely it has died of fright. Cat viewed through the gate shows no signs of interest whatever.

Next up - friendly local kestrel swoops in, grabs and then veers off, the mouse dangling from its talons .. judging by the fact Granny saw it not two minutes later heading off mouseless the other way it must have made a very quick dinner.

The kestrels are everywhere here. This one hovers often over the sunken land at eye level with Granny working at the sink or at the kitchen desktop. It lifts her heart even on bad days. Having been brought up - as everyone was in her day - to learn poems by heart, a constant rhyming or not rhyming pleasure in her head, she recites Gerard Manley Hopkins to herself - 'I caught this morning morning's minion/kingdom of daylight's dauphin/dappled-dawn-drawn falcon in his riding/high there how he hangs on the rein of a wimpled wing/then off forth in his striding'.....etc - she suspects that's not quite right, the reams of poetry in her head have, inevitably at her age, corrupted somewhat, but there it is, even corrupted it's the best arouser and description of adolescent ecstasy she knows, which gives her a bit of that lift and shiver even now. She doesn't need to bother with the religious bit at the end of the poem: she's never much cared for that. The kestral-simple bit, the wimpled wing, the striding, will do for her. It does.

Yet again, you see, the kestrel with its wild yet so precise eye has made her morning. Good.

(OK, sorry - Pollyana stuff: nothing wrong with Polyanna stuff, though: at bad times silver linings can continue to look nice - especially kestrel-shaped ones. Granny is feeling better these days, anyway, in case you hadn't noticed; or even in case you had.)

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