Seasonal challenge

“There are few more restful places, if one wishes to think, than the upper balconies of Lord’s pavilion,” Wodehouse wrote in a book full of the English notions of spring and cricket. I found an equally restful place under a tree some days ago. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by at the pace of war, long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. But within those periods of boredom I found times like this, when I could just sit and soak in the season. In spring the bad air of winter clears out, and you get the luminous days which are perfect for lying under a tree looking up at the sky.

I woke before dawn and listened to the first birds. Almost a year ago I had posted about the bird calls I was beginning to recognize. I realized today that in spring I should begin to hear the song of the koel. I haven’t heard one yet. So let me make this my crowd sourced effort to spot the first call of the Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) in 2021. It would be great if you leave a comment with the place and date when you hear a koel for the first time this year. If you manage to get a good photo this spring, post it, and leave a link. If you are elsewhere in the world, it would be wonderful to hear about the bird that means spring to you., or other interpretations that you have for this season. Let me take the season, vasant ritu, to last until the full moon of April 26, although this is just an arbitrary convention.

Sumer is icumen in

I’m suffering from a cough and cold even as the temperature climbs into the mid thirties (Celsius, in case you are confused). The humidity has already started creeping up, reminding me of how bad May will get. Right in front of the window I see a mango tree beginning to fruit. If these fruits stay on the branch, they would ripen by the middle of May. Mangos are the compensation for the discomfort of summer. But it is very likely that these mangos will have become panha well before they ripen.

This is also the season when you get the most colourful moths. Walking to the lift the other day I noticed many of these two kinds of moths sitting on the wall, basking in the morning sun. They are about two centimeter long, and extremely visible in the light. The fact that crows and other birds do not make a quick snack of them probably means that they are either poisonous or not very tasty.

It has become warm enough to remind me of the medieval English song: “Sumer is icumen in/ Lhude sing cuccu.” A Koel is a cuckoo, isn’t it? I did hear a Koel the other day, but I think that was a ring tone on someone’s phone and not the bird. It’s nor really summer yet.