A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 8 April 2011

April Come She Will

O to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

ROBERT BROWNING Home-Thoughts, From Abroad

As I grow older, each springtime is more splendid than the one before - or so it seems to me. This year is no exception. These past few days of mild air and blue skies have seen spring advance in leaps and bounds. Today I dawdled through the village in  temperatures which must have been over 20º C. It was certainly the warmest day of the year so far. The daffodils were fading, but new life was everywhere: pear and crab apple blossom, a hint of blue on the bluebell stalks, the heady scent of vibernum's creamy flowers. In the countryside beyond the village it was too early for daisies, but bright yellow dandelions had popped up along the grassy verges since my last walk there, and the pure-white flowers of the blackthorn - glory of the English early spring - adorned the lanes like scatterings of unseasonal snow.

It felt unreal. It was nearly all too much. My senses were giddy with the freshness, with the shocking newness, with the pristine beauty of it all - the glare of the light, the first drifting insects, the druggy scents, the glowing greens and blues. Winter had starved me of colour, and this sudden burst of it was strangely psychedelic. Its vivid assault almost had me rushing back into the familiar, dull interior of the house.

But not quite - for here outside, in this verdant English spring, were miracles: such as the miracles of birds and birdsong. Birds are some of my favourite living creatures. Just imagine, if you can, a world without birds. Inconceivable, I think; the countryside would be so much the poorer, even a trifle sinister, without them. Yellowhammers - there's an abundance of them in the parish - flashed from bush to bush, peewits cried plaintively over the open fields, great tits boldly sang their two-note 'teach-er' song, chiffchaffs chiffchaffed away in the trees. Chiffchaffs are some of the earliest spring migrants to fly in from the south. I'd heard them singing a couple of weeks ago, and it's always heartening when they arrive.


am said...

That does look like the best spring ever!

emilene said...

Wonderful! On this side of the world exactly the opposite is starting to happen. I truly don't enjoy winter, so I hope nature is kind and extends the wonderful sunny weather we are experiencing in Cape Town at the moment! Colours are slowly changing and the sun is certainly appearing later in the day but summer is certainly still lingering...

Ruth said...

Your beautiful, descriptive words, and the blue, green and white, with the still-bare black trees accenting, like wrought iron gates, really excites me. We have nothing but a few crocus blooming in this chilly spring. Yesterday was cold and rainy. But they say it will be close to 20C here tomorrow too, and I look forward to cleaning up the sticks in the yard that have accumulated over the long, harsh winter.

Gorgeous post, Robert.

Ruth said...

I meant to also say that I agree with you about birds. I don't know how to live without them. These little creatures play a big role in my life.

The Solitary Walker said...

The best spring unitl the next one, am!

Thanks Emilene ...

... and Ruth, birds are essential to the quality of my own life too. I've been birding, in a very amateur way, for as long as I can remember. I just love them. They make my heart sing.

Amanda said...

from your evocative descriptions and fotos, i felt like i was walking down that lane.

i agree - spring seems to become more splendid with every year. i caught the fragrance of an appletree in full bloom yesterday and almost keeled over it was so magnificent.

Alive said...

A truly heartfelt and detailed account of the growth and colour of the injection of this season. I too have experienced natures glory with abundance and at times surreal surroundings this year.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Amanda and Alive. Good to have you walking along.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh you have expressed this so beautifully. Spring really is almost too much, so overwhelmingly glorious. But I always want more!

David Knockton said...

Really good photographs, absolutely beautiful weather. A really good, well written article. Thank you.

I started my walking blog 6 weeks ago, please have a look!


The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Raph. And David - will check out your own blog as soon as I can.