The Lark Descending

While out of Longridge Fell this week, I observed a pair of skylarks playing and hovering over some cleared woodland. From afar, they look similar to a thrush, but are smaller; though their song is dissimilar, it is no less pleasant. Sadly, British lark numbers have shrunk by 90% since 1980. The RSPB attribute this to altered arable patterns, with farmers sowing cereals sooner. At mating time, the lark find the crops too tall and closely packed through which to run and eat insects, so it fails to prosper. Farmers are being urged to leave patches of land unsown to enable lark numbers to rise.

In Genesis 1:28, Adam and Eve are given dominion- rulership, stewardship and caretaking responsibilities over the natural world. We have as great a duty to administer the land for the larks’ benefit as we do for our own food supply. That numbers of songbirds should so plummet on our watch is a disgraceful indictment of our Genesis commission. The name for a group of skylarks in an exaltation. Truly, when their numbers recover, not only shall our green land be pleasanter, but its Maker will be better exalted.

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;

And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;

And the fish of the sea will explain to you.

Job 12:7-8 (NKJV)


Oh! the downs high to the cool sky;

And the feel of the sun-warmed moss;

And each cardoon, like a full moon,

Fairy-spun of the thistle floss;

And the beech grove, and a wood dove,

And the trail where the shepherds pass;

And the lark's song, and the wind song,

And the scent of the parching grass!

John Galsworthy

Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay