Country diary: glorious lark song rises from the earth


Big Moor, Derbyshire: I am surrounded by a torrent of music from a chorus of beings invisible in the gloom

With a forecast of showers and then heavy rain, I was out early, determined to win something from the day before it dissolved. The rain held off, but it still felt unusually cold on the domed crown of Big Moor. That did not stop the larks. As I climbed away from the road, and the hiss of traffic faded, I soon realised that I was surrounded by lark song, not falling from the air but rising from the earth, from a chorus of beings invisible in the gloom, as though I were fording a torrent of music.

Thanks to Vaughan Williams, there is a predisposition to imagine larks forever ascending, but they will sing just as gloriously from the ground as they do from the sky. “The larks carry their tongues to the last atom,” as Ted Hughes put it, and they will carry those tongues as gladly perched on a rock as they will chirruping from the heavens.

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