Despite the adverse circumstances – the unusually heavy frost in winter, followed by yet another dry spring – some of the trees are powering on, producing fruit and forming beautiful canopies of fresh green foliage. One of the pears – the Williams – has excelled itself, with a cover of small, perfectly formed pearlets. So I’m disappointed to find, down among the rhubarb, one tiny pear, indented with tooth marks, cast aside in a, ‘phhh, that’s not even ripe’ sort of way.
It’s so dry that there’s a spider in the rain gauge. A young huntsman, it sits on the side of the gauge while the bottom fills up with whatever little showers we are blessed with and a mess of beetles. Christmas beetles, with their hunched shells, that flash rainbows off their glossy brown backs and wings when they fly. When I tip them out some are still alive, and they crawl off in a dazed wonder at being back in the world. The spider clings on, and I put her and the rain gauge back on the fence.
I’m kept awake at night by a frog that favours a spot right outside our bedroom window. I’m not sure if it’s a new frog, or just an old frog in a new position, but I can’t help thinking that it’s playing a zither. I lie in bed imagining its long arms and legs stretched out to pluck the strings with its fingertips. I imagine a jazz frog – happy jazz – in a little black and white striped jacket, a smile on its face as it weaves its esoteric way through the night.