In the Time of the Skylark – Re-exploration (11)


3 June 2020

My Dearest Boy,

We have been lark-charmed, gladdened, cheered.  This week you were able to re-explore a half-remembered place.  You scooted light-footed down the gravel path, laughter in your refined voice.  Nana, lock-down hair flowing behind her, could no longer catch you.

What fun you had jumping with a new self-assurance along the twelve steps, working out which one wobbled most.  Yes, the putting hole was still there!  You called for Grandad T and the clubs.

However, this day  there was little need of toys.  Just time for us all to innocently delight in each other’s company and the garden.  Nana always meant it to be a magical place for a small boy and  it was.

My Dearest Boy, you found your way down to the wild area and double-checked with me it was OK to push through the exquisite jungle of ox-eyed daisies and hide behind the arbour.  Then you danced around the mulberry bush on this friendly summer morn to the accompaniment of minimms, crotchets and quavers of the exuberant birds.  My sadness left me and my heart rose with the songs.

Mummy had  told me how clever you had become with your letters and numbers and yes, you recognised your name on the hand-painted label on your little plot – given over this year to peas and beans.  You can sow flowers on it if you wish next Spring.

How fortunate the first strawberry had ripened just in time and who would have thought the fruit stained fingers of a small boy could then pick and eat so many lettuce leaves.  Everything tasted fine today.

Things were the same but not the same.  Time had been suspended – yet moved on.  I never have felt this so strongly.  Did I sense a whispered half-heard ghost – I believe I did.  It was a time of enchantment both now and then.  A gift of clear skies, a bliss, a connection to each other and our ancestors.  A time of longing.  A time when the constant on my walks was the skylark – “keeping on into deep space, past dying stars and exploding suns, to where at last……  he sung his heart out at all dark matter”*.

You amazed Grandad T and I with your remembering of songs and books, of games and poems.  We looked together at a special spell (from a distance) whilst we tried to catch your shadow.  Was this restorative space an epitaph to the time of the little astronaut or a prologue to the new?  It was, as always – the Now.  And throughout the time the skylark’s “magical song still torrented on”*.

Nana and Grandad T were so very happy today;  as were you also.

We love you,





This is the last in a series of letters written by a Nana to her three year old grandson during the strictest period of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic from March 2020 to June 2020.  The letters to be given as an historic record to the boy on his 21st birthday. * Much of the inspiration for these posts came from the book “The Lost Words” by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Philippa says:

    Thanks again Jackie for sharing these magical letters to your grandson, and pointing the way to the Lost Words. Now that we can move about again I hope to track this down at our local bookshop!


  2. Jackie Mcall says:

    Thank you, Philippa. Yes, it is a wonderful book. A group of folk musicians have also put music to the “spells” , which is equally as beautiful. Take care. x


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