Straw Hats

stork nestWe both saw them at about the same time, great rafts of straw and twigs topped the pylons. Each with its own furry hat. Then the storks, massive bird seemingly precariously balanced atop their organic thrones. I have seen them, and more amazingly heard them, flying over south-west France. The spring and autumn skies awash with flying Vs disrupted by the upper currents, the voices merging into a cacophonous roar as they flew hundreds of metres overhead. And here they are in their summer residences soaking up the baking sun of the deepest south of Spain.

We are on a brief road trip – a couple of hours from our borrowed apartment at the less touristy end of the Costa Del Sol. A well-named area if ever there was, day after day the yellow sun sits in a sky blue arc overhead. It brings a profusion, even a confusion, of life. Garden flowers grown to giants, occasional bloomers in the UK covered here with a profusion of blossom, green everywhere. That was a surprise. The green. The trees, the shrubbery and the maquis (I wonder what the Spanish equivalent of that word is?) green despite the relentless drying sun. Vegetation on the edge of the continent but far from the edge of survival. We rode through the tree line to a wide expanse of high veldt, or was it the Peruvian uplands, where the storks chose to nest each bringing their own mystery as their arrival presaged summer.

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