Living in a cottage in the countryside means that over the years there have been many strange, unexplained events. Recently one curious incident occurred along the old road where I often walk.
My roaming takes me past farms, fields and long abandoned homes, I occasionally share the road with cars, farm machinery and the post van.
Now and then I have the company of a local cat who waits on the corner.
Although the area is peaceful it is never silent.
There is always the call of crows overhead, the lowing of cattle close by or the distant rumble of a tractor.
There are sheep, summer swallows and occasionally the cry of a hunting hawk.
Even at night there are sounds in the darkness; owls call, foxes shriek and hedgerows rustle.
This particular morning was clear, bright and breezy. It was early summer, I had spent time by the river and was walking home.
As always I entered a short tunnel of trees and was a few yards in beneath the branches when it happened.
At first I noticed how quiet it had become.
No buzz of bee nor call from crow, wood pigeon or blackbird. No rustle from the leaves.
The wind had died away, the clouds unmoving, a strange stillness descended.
The grass in a nearby field seemed frozen, the cattle motionless, not a twitch of ear or tail.
I stood and strained to hear but there was only an unnatural silence.
Stepping off the road I entered the trees and immediately the light around me seemed to change,
shadows deepened and colours seemed to subtly alter.
Do you see her?
I felt observed but who was watching?
I spoke aloud then, asked who was there and called ‘hello’, I waited but no answer came.
Just silence and stillness all around.
Although I have a vivid imagination I always look for logical, practical explanations but this was beyond me.
Nothing moved at all, not even a leaf and there was utter silence.
It was then that I began to feel alarmed. Was I the only living thing here ?
If I continued walking to my home what would I find ?
Taking deep breaths, I calmed myself and concluded I had wandered into somewhere inexplicable.
What else could this be?
Still sensing I was watched, I spoke aloud again.
I waited and waited but again there was no reply.
Finally there was no option but to move on.
Colours brightened. Sound suddenly returned, insects, cattle and a tractor, wind rustled the leaves and birds flew above.
The change was tangible and so was my relief.
I had never felt so happy to be scrutinised by a bull before.
To this day I have no idea what really happened.
Although I felt that hours had passed, when I finally returned home my outing had taken just ninety minutes, about the usual time I spend walking and sitting by the river.
I have searched in vain for reports of similar incidents and researched local folklore without success.
Amongst the tales of FAIRY PATHS and FAIRY WIVES, BANSHEES and BURIED TREASURE there is no mention of the Otherworldly Silence.