Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 21 June 1917

Surrey
The soil responds quickly now to every genial touch. Meadows and clover fields which, after they had been cut and the hay gathered, appeared brown and sere two days ago were this morning, after a spell of rain, as green almost as in spring. The foot sank among rich young leaves and blades along the ditch side below, where wild pink roses have opened as if by some quick stroke or call. On the very top of flowering brambles yellowhammers perched, preening their feathers, and started a little song the last note of which drew out longer than the others. There was a pause and a spell of silence until the song was run through again, the heads of the birds bobbing yellow in the sunshine all the while.

With a rising wind at evening, grey clouds, almost black, came sweeping up the down, scattering the white fruit of dandelions. In the distance they seemed heavy and low enough to envelop you in darkness, but presently it was nothing but a slightly damp flicker wafting across your face. Higher the sky was a clear blue, with long thin flecks depending, which scarcely moved, and in the middle distance swifts circling, diving, now going higher with a tireless flutter of wings, then gliding as they pleased without apparent sign of any kind of power. No matter which way you turn now there are always swifts, and within a few minutes a pair will come down with sharp but sweet cries as they dash above and around. Another and yet another two or three will join them, until, waywardly, all shoot up towards the sky again. So many are they that a lark, strong as his singing is, seems lonely.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change