I should not have walked to the postbox this morning. I should have stayed at my desk and addressed the emails and letters from which I've been hiding in Speyside. I should have written; I should have read; I should have worked.
Had I dutifully stayed at my desk, however, I would not have walked across the common and heard the chaffinches, the song thrushes and chiffchaffs singing for their second broods.
I would not have seen the last flowers of bogbean in the pool, nor the first of marsh thistle; nor heard the happy chip of sparrows.
I would not have seen the fragile constellations of rough chervil in the hedge, or the soft small flowers of ground ivy; nor would I have puzzled over the parentage of a thistle (marsh/creeping hybrid I think).
I would not have smiled to see mallard fledglings wrestling over a potato by the river.
Nor would I have met a meadow bumblebee (a male, a first sign of autumn) feeding at green alkanet; nor the same plant blooming beautifully by the postbox (meaning my walk was over).
I would not, on my way back, have made the acquaintance of a handsome cock, nor talked with fat lambs, by a hedge bright with herb robert and wild rose.
I would not have seen the heraldic leaves of hop ramping through the verge.
I would not, reaching my home, have seen flags shouting yellowly from a pool
All these gifts to my soul from the wild I would not have seen, or heard, or smelled this morning.
I'm glad I walked to the postbox.