It was a sweltering summer’s day which encapsulated perfectly why North Norfolk is so famed for its big skies.
The cloudless sky was an expanse of hues of blue as far as the eye could see, the sun resplendent high above. Today, so intense is its summer heat, that no longer is it a shimmering ball of yellow but rather a hazy glow of pure white, with shafts of light reaching out as if to touch the earth below over which it casts its life-giving gaze.
At ground level the rolling fields contrast the blue sky with swathes of straw gold. These fields sit in near silence now – save for the chirping birds. The annual deep, murmuring, mechanical sound of combines has moved on – their work done – having interrupted only briefly the natural peace to gather in the annual harvest, leaving behind the short stubble as evidence of the richness which once stood here. Now there stand stubble where once stood fields of barley swaying in the sea breeze, as if dancing a waltz.
The scene is a beautiful reminder of the seasons which we are blessed with, the stubble fields signalling the move from summer to the fast-approaching autumn.
However, far from a scene of sadness this is one of joy. Where once barley stood – there now lies a golden playground for wildlife.
More than that there is a veritable feast of seed left behind by the harvest. Chirping flocks of sparrows and other small birds flit here and there with such excitement and enthusiasm for the feast which lays before them. Pigeons too arrive, less active than their smaller, noisier neighbours, simply content to walk slowly amongst the stubble eating all they can letting out a satisfying overture of cooing as they go.
At the top of the field, looking downward and sea ward, stands a hare, whose bronzed, perfectly groomed fur, is the mark of a very dapper fellow indeed.
The birds offer this hare some passing amusement, but he doesn’t waste time watching them, nor does he allow himself to be distracted by the scurrying of fellow hares darting across the wide expanse to the safety of the hedgerows.
No, this hare is one who has witnessed many a passing of the seasons, and is therefore wise enough to know now is not the time for feasting or scurrying – now is the time to sit and simply breathe the beauty in. To embrace all that is around him.
Slowly, he moves his head left then right, checking all is safe and quiet, before sitting upright to do nothing other than admire the stubble filed, his stubble field.
The sun casts a shadow on his upright ears and makes them look like the antlers of a stag – indeed this is the hare known as StubbleStag – majestic, magnificent and wise.