“The man remarks, ‘It looks like there will be showers today,’ as he tucks an unruly branch of privet back into the neatly trimmed hedge. This small adjustment creates a ripple effect and sets a strange yet perfect tone for the day. A rainbow appears, with its feet touching the ground beneath dark clouds resembling black vanilla. One end of the rainbow is said to be hiding under Wat’s Dyke, a linear earthwork in northern Wales, while the other end is believed to be buried under the orthopaedic hospital in Gobowen. As the sky brightens to a pale blue, the middle of the rainbow fades, but the remaining colors remain vibrant, like fragments of a vivid dream.”
The black sheep are positioned at the center of the hillfort to seek shelter from the current and future rain. They value their peaceful state on a patch of dry, warm grass and do not wish to be disturbed. However, they have now become alert and all gaze in the same direction, as if a phantom dog prowls along the fence. These sheep are descendants of the Iron Age, possessing tough mouths and keen eyes that have long shaped the hilly terrain. They are arranged in a striking contrast of black against green, a captive audience from ancient times that remains indifferent to human affairs. The birds are subdued and distant, even those hidden in the nearby hawthorn and oak bushes. Their secretive chatter is as vibrant as berries, communicated on their own unique frequency.
The distant mountains are obscured by a hazy atmosphere, with the threat of rain looming over them. Whatever exists in that place seems to be separate from our current location, untouched by the frightening realities that surround us. Even our own shadows do not seem to reach the ground here. Suddenly, a figure appears out of the thin air, gracefully landing on a fern leaf. It is a red admiral butterfly, with its dark black wings, vibrant red body, and pure white markings reminiscent of the smoke from the nearby chipboard factory in Chirk. This particular butterfly appears to be one of the last remaining of its kind this year, its wings still in perfect condition. As it settles on the frond, it seems to align itself with the earth’s magnetic north.
As it does so, the perfect mystery – of a butterfly and unseen birds and black sheep under a rainbow during a moment smoothed into a hedge – is uncannily strange and familiar at the same time. This is ecological beauty.