The Hues amid the Grove and Prairie

Irina scattered the dried mud covered with leaves with her foot, “Reyna, I cannot find your pearl stud, are you sure you have dropped your earring here?”

“Hmm”, she responded inaudibly engrossed in the search brushing the top layer of the mud with the stroke of her hand when an uncommon wood white butterfly orbited her to distract her, and settled on the tip of her ring finger, stooping over the ground she froze, stunned watching the insect’s beauty, with her attractive eyes observing the miniature scale of the creamy-white invertebrate with grey tips and in a jiffy it fluttered its fragile wings with grey veins to vanish amid the woods across a spring-fed stream.

“Shhh, we are in the midst of woodland”, Irina mumbled to the jubilantly whirling Reyna and fearfully squealed “Eek”, when a sandy-brown coat, wood mice crossed from over her feet, she stumbled back and  fell hard on her ass to blow the toppled dark green, wavy-edged leaves; to outrageously howlWahoo!” in joy on noticing a red-breasted robin  at the end of a low, gnarled, massive main branch  of a tall magnificent pedunculate oak – the king of trees with a broad, irregular crown and a grey and fissured bark.

“Reyna, see!”, she impatiently hollered raising her eyebrows to tilt her head towards the end of a long stalk with brown and spherical flowers in small bunches along with whitish-green egg-shaped acorns of the oak above her, where the robin was settled, Reyna quickly removed her binoculars from her backpack to watch the robin with orange breast and whitish belly take flight in the sunbeam veiled with nets of branches. 

Reyna and Irina had come for a trek in the vast hectares of a beautiful patchwork of deciduous woodland and grassland, bountiful with diverse flora and fauna, nestled in a loop of a river.

As she looked through her binoculars she spotted several pairs of great tits with white cheek patches, yellow breast and black bib, ringing “tink-tink” on the branches, layered by sparsely toothed leaves and dotted with yellow-green blooms of the spring, of a  beech with shiny and silver-grey bark.  

All of a sudden, Irina saw a small, stocky rodent with round muzzle, red-brown fur and a tail about half as long as its body with Reyna’s pearl stud, “Ha-ha, the bank vole has your stud in his mouth”, Irina chortled. “Uh-huh, the poor rodent must have mistaken the stud for a blackberry”, Reyna giggled as she raced after the vole, the creature amazingly ran rapidity through the lush surface hemmed by long, thorny, arching shoots of bramble bushes laden with wild blackberries; to swim across a small pond full with olive green frogs haphazardly swimming in the dark water and hopping on the rocks on the pond’s surface; to hide in a burrow adjacent to a towering ash tree.

Flabbergasted, Irina and Reyna stood athwart the tree to gaze at the spectacle of a group of redstarts, brightly coloured in various combinations of red, blue, white, and black, flapping their wings among the branches of the ash tree encrusted with twigs of compound leaves and dangling samaras.  

“Phew, the damn bank vole is in love with the stud”, winked Irina. “You bet!” muttered Reyna to thump the bark of the ash tree in annoyance and shrieked,Yikes to flight a distance away and squawked, “A wolf spider is on its bark!” to make Irina stride in fright towards Reyna and the bank vole to gallop out of its burrow with the stud.

They soon started plodding after the galloping creature, the vole drop the stud on the base of a sycamore to meander among the carpets of nodding, sweet-scented, violet-blue, bluebells. On one of the whimsically twisted branch of the sycamore Reyna spotted an enormous bee-hive manifestly visible among the tree’s green canopy, and swiftly stumbled Irena’s relaxed gait in the direction of the tree; “Bee’s love flowers”, she vivaciously stated to angle her head towards the hive at Irina’s scowl.   

Unexpectedly and weirdly, they spotted a seemingly proud fallow deer with broad, shovel-shaped antlers stomping from the carpets of bluebells to halt near the tree, to pick Reyna’s pearl stud. The buck ran a yard away with Irina and Reyna in pursuit, to delicately drop the stud near the foot of a tree with a naturally formed hollow in its trunk; in which a pair of barn owls stood pepping out their heart-shaped, white face. “Ooh, that was the last thing I ever imagined, my pearl stud fallen near the nest of owls”; all of a sudden from the multi-coloured horizon a red-breasted robin appeared, and picked the pearl stud by her beak to place it on a small rock near Reyna.

“Is this a fantasy land?” Irina reacted in delight.

“It is”, Reyna responded in awe.             


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