Blogger: Aggie Rothon, Communications Officer

It being Halloween this weekend and me representing the RSPB, I have been trying to think how I might liken the festival to nature for a seasonal theme in today’s article. But the more I think about it, the less similar the two seem. People have told me to write about ravens and crows, their blackness symbolising an (apparently) ethereal evil. I spent a morning searching and the internet is rife with web sites telling weird tales of ancient bird folklore. But the more I research, the greater my belief that birds are far more symbols of life and living than that of the spirit underworld.

I have always maintained that it is easy to get things out of perspective at night-time. Everyday tales told become full of mystery when the moon comes up and usual daytime noises become spooky bumps in the night. So it was a comforting sight to catch the grey-blue shadow of a barn owl blooming from the roadside fog as we made our way home from a rare trip in to the city to see Laura Marling play at Norwich Cathedral last night.

Some might say the owl looked ghoulish, appearing as it did in a blur of cold night air and smudgy silhouette. But for me, after the unearthly atmosphere of the cathedral and Laura Marling’s striking vocals, the owl was a welcome reminder of the actuality of the natural world. And those jet black rooks swirling in unhurried circles over frost hardened fields only serve to remind me fondly of the rookeries outside my childhood windows whilst a crows lolloping and swaggering seems whimsical rather than fiendish to me.

There is something rather excitingly story-book about Halloween however. It’s always interesting to see the world through someone else’s eyes for an evening, even if it is the glinting eyes of a witch or a goblin. But whilst you are preparing for the theatrics of the spirits and the underworld spare a thought for what we can celebrate not just on an evening a year, but 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day.  If you’ve ever seen a marsh harrier sky-dancing or caught a red deer parading through a fringe of woodland you’ll know what I mean. Let’s celebrate the sheer glory of the natural, living world too. I promise you, spending your October watching otters gamble past you at Strumpshaw, the robin’s on your garden fence, or curlews whistling on the coast will give you far more cause for making merry than a trick and treating mega bucket might do.

Eastern Daily Press Article on Saturday 29 October 2011