by Stephen Moss
18 March 2021
March 2020: Stephen Moss's Somerset garden is awash with birdsong: chiffchaffs, wrens, robins and a new arrival, the blackcap, all competing to sing as the season gathers pace. Overhead, buzzards soar and ravens tumble, apparently as delighted as he is to herald the new season...But this Spring Equinox is unlike any other. As the nation stumbles toward a collective lockdown, Stephen begins to observe and record the wildlife in his immediate vicinity, with his fox-red Labrador, Rosie, as his companion on his daily exercise.
As old routines fall away, and blue skies are no longer crisscrossed by contrails, they discover the bumblebees, butterflies and birdsong on their patch. This evocative account underlines how an unprecedented crisis has changed the way we relate to the natural world, giving us hope for the future at perhaps the darkest time in our lives. And it puts down a marker for the 'new normal': the many species around us, all enjoying, for once, a land less lived in than usual by humankind.