Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sambar ka awaz

When my fridge reaches a critical temperature and its motors jump into action to cool it, it makes a noise remarkably like a distant sambar alarm-calling on seeing a tiger. This had slipped to the sidelines of my mind in the months since I bought the fridge. Today, freshly back from the lofty forests of India, I heard the fridge alarm call and for one misguided moment all my tiger-watching instincts surfaced.

This morning as Chhoti Mata and her cubs prowl the Mukki zone of Kanha and scar-faced Bokhra dozes through the midday heat of Tadoba, chiffchaffs proclaim the bright blue spring all along a river in North Norfolk. Starlings, in their spangled spring loveliness, bustle through my garden in search of grass stems for their nests and house sparrows chip and chunter all around.

What better time to reappear in Norfolk? This naturalist is happy to be home.

Most field naturalists I know relish being new, anonymous, at their own disposal, untrackable, freed from their past, able (even required) to reinvent themselves; and yet they also tend to phone and write home often when they're in port, many times a day blazing a link to their loved ones.

Diane Ackerman
The Moon by Whale Light

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