Last Thursday’s #openmic evening run by novelist @jennyjheap at The Globe Pub in #Warwick was another great evening of author camaraderie and all things writer-ey (love a new word, me). The theme was – appropriately today perhaps – Winter, and some great pieces were given an airing to a very appreciative audience. Poet Gwyneth Box evoked winter in Spain, which brought the colours and warmth of the Med so much closer to our dark and damp shores. Jenny read a poignant short story where Winter was delicately portrayed by an ageing widow. Pepping things up a bit we heard two shorts about snow – lots of snow – in the wonderful Welsh valleys, and how something that can be so restrictive to travel (ie – you can’t do it until it melts!) does actually bring communities and friends together. Heartening stuff. Writer Nick le Mesurier and his glamorous assistant read a wonderful two-hander that held many laughs and possibly a few tears (might have got a bit of dust in my eye at some point – you know how it is), and we listened, spellbound, as the hilarious yet tender story unfolded. My Winter offering relates to nature, and here it is below. ‘Cause everyone loves a sparrow, right?!
She puffs out her chest as the north wind buffets her small body and ruffles the delicate feathers tasked with protecting her from the chill of winter. Perched amid a leafless web of spiky hawthorn branches, the sparrow finds little shelter from the icy confetti that falls silently and steadily around her, yet she is content to wait. A trudge of foot, a gentle call and a sweeping hand knocks snow from the bird-table and it falls a second time, a mini avalanche of ice dust to land on the snow below. Crumbs of fatty nuts and bread are hastily scattered across the snow-capped table and then she is alone once more. With darting swiftness she takes flight and lands amid the food, a rich brown berry on the pure white snow. Hungrily she gathers what she can. To make it through this darkest of seasons she must eat every day, the scales of sustenance holding her struggle so stay alive precariously in the balance until the earth tips Springward again. So she eats quickly before her banquet disappears beneath fresh snowfall.
Other birds, with empty stomachs and keen eyes are also looking for food. On soundless wings a sparrow hawk suddenly descends – because she too, must eat.