You remember the grebe? The think-it-and-it-appeared grebe at the end of last year? It was there again today as I walked along the river to the Post Office; a bright-eyed puff of wintry dun on the greenglass water. Only that's not the good bit. A great tit rocked his happy song from an alder and nearby a blue tit sang: P Diddy Diddy Diddy. Three drake mallards crowded round a duck (with more than a hint of Pacific black duck in her eye-liner), in premonition of their spring orgy to come. Only they're not the good bit either.
The good bit, as I walked back along the river, was another thought that popped into my head: wouldn't it be nice to see a... and in that moment I did. Kingfisher. That double-take blue that scarcely belongs in the alder-black, faded-reed landscape of a Norfolk river in winter. That molten orange of his breast. But there he was (or she: I couldn't see the lower mandible), like the grebe, thought and material in the same instant. No doubt there's an explanation for this in science: a perception before perception that spawns a thought. But I prefer to think I made a kingfisher. Or he made me.
There are kingfishers by the millrace, the fastest blue on Earth.
Ronald BlytheA Year at Bottengoms Farm