I spent one weekend away, in South Devon, at the beginning of January. Storm Gertrude arrived that weekend - the only one of this winter's storms that has so far much affected the southwest. Devon was close to flooding. When I got back, I could see from the silt left on the riverbank that the water level had risen about three feet - and gone back down again. I missed that drama.
Every morning large numbers of starlings fly over just before sunrise, travelling upriver on their way to their feeding grounds for the day. They, too, are different each day. Sometimes they come over in impressively large 'skeins' of birds, sometimes in smaller groups; sometimes flying high, sometimes close to the ground. I soon got used to hearing their approach, with the beating of so many wings.
The river is sometimes placid and sometimes wide awake; sometimes choppy (if it's windy) and sometimes smooth as a mirror; sometimes moving fast, sometimes barely at all; sometimes carrying plenty of flotsam downstream and sometimes not. One morning I noticed a dead animal lying near me down the riverbank, half covered over with broken up reed stems.
At first I thought it was a badger, then perhaps an otter, caught in the storm. Ij fact it turned out to be a fox. I have a real affinity with foxes; if I was the sort of person to take on a 'medicine name' then it would be Walking Fox. I don't know what had happened to it - it had an injury to its abdomen, but I had no idea whether that's what killed it or whether it happened after it had drowned. I committed it to the river anyway.
I found a piece of wood to help it into the water, and it somehow ended up floating slowly down the river with its front paws caught over the wood, making its final journey. As it gradually disappeared the starlings came over, more than I've ever seen there before, wave after wave of them, emerging out of the mist and passing overhead, then disappearing back into the mist on their way upstream.