Sunday, 19 May 2013


These pictures are a couple of weeks old now - taken around Beltane, they captured for me the moment when spring finally happened. I had been watching desperately for it, through cold bare days of baited breath  and suffocated growth, at times wondering if it would ever come; wondering if perhaps our apocalypse would sneak up on us in the guise of everlasting winter. But come it did, and for a few sparkling days the earth glowed and sang.

I honestly know of no greater joy than to witness things growing. I am eagle-eyed at this time of year, watching earth and branch almost hourly - seeing birch buds, starting as no more than pin pricks, gradually uncurling like tiny scrolls giving the woods a greeny sheen. Beech leaves too, opening like folded paper fans, translucent with newness. Palmy fronds of rowan emerging, waving in the sun

The empty ground starts to sprout a spreading carpet of wild greens and seeded weeds; nettles and dandelions familiar amongst the delicate scatterings of wind-sown unknowns. In my slow, haphazard way I have been cultivating the land about me - some begged, some borrowed - planting bits and pieces here and there. I watch my small efforts eagerly for signs of life, rejoicing when the perennials appear as if by magic - bare earth giving birth to shoots forgotten since autumn; astilbe, astrantia, aquilegia - I hover like a nervous mother over their slug injuries and frost bites.

And those sycamores, their swollen buds bursting at the seams, releasing leaves too long confined, so glad to be free, shaking the sun along their veins and spreading a canopy of golden green glory...

The transformation is almost complete, I type to a window of fully clothed hillsides. It is raining, and cloud hovers in the valley, the greening is settling down from limes and acids, to emeralds and olives, maturing and solidifying with the aging season. I miss the sun, the way it dances between the branches with the newly minted leaves, casting shimmering shadows on the floors where I walk.