Walking Around Clare Common
(By John Sargeant)
A few weeks ago, I was out with our dog Max, for his early morning walk. It was around 06.30 on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning with bright blue sky. As I began to walk up Jacob’s Road, I found myself musing about what I should muse about today.
Suddenly I became aware of a loud rapid tapping sound coming from the direction of the nuttery. When it stopped, after a few minutes’ similar sounds from different directions answered the call. It was of course woodpeckers, communicating with one another by banging their heads on distant tree trunks – can anyone tell me why woodpeckers don’t get a headache, or dementia like footballers who head the ball too often?
As my walk progressed there were different sounds; the two-tone wakeup call of a cuckoo, the twittering of the songbirds in the hedge rows, the warning call of a pheasant disturbed by my (or more probably Max’s) presence. The sounds of God’s creation which He declared to be good. The sounds of nature only broken & spoilt by the occasional big silver bird roaring its way down the flight path into Stansted Airport and the dull rumble of vehicles on Cavendish & Stoke Roads.
O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth.
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children & infants you have ordained praise (Psalm 8)
We do that walk almost everyday; spring, summer, autumn, winter, sunshine, wind, rain or snow, every day is different. Max ever hopeful that he will spot a rabbit, hare, muntjac, full-size deer or even a fox to chase across the field.
Some days you may be able to spot a barn owl hunting for its breakfast on the waste ground above the cemetery
Or a buzzard roosting in the tall trees by the old waterworks or hovering almost motionless on a thermal high up in the sky. Or maybe there will be a kestrel above the allotments hoping to spot a rodent for breakfast. Then there’s the swallows in & out of the old barns where they have their nests.
Foxes have holes & the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. (Luke 9: 58)
Each morning, the sun rising in the East paints beautiful pictures in the cloudy sky every shade of yellow, orange, red and even purple, ever changing, never the same:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where his voice is not heard. (Psalm 19: 1-3)
It’s a world of constantly changing colour as the fields, flowers, trees & hedges change with the seasons. Walking back across the green common two weeks ago it wasn’t green because it had been transformed into a sea of yellow buttercups.
The hymn writer wrote:
O, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hand hath made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed…
When through the woods & forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee, how great Thou art! How great Thou art!
 How Great Thou Art, orig. Swedish/Russian trans. Stuart K Hine (1949)
(Photo by the author – used with kind permission)