I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 19 March 2012

In Search Of The Spring

Today I walked out in search of the spring. The snowdrop, the crocus and the aconite had bloomed and faded; it was now the turn of the primrose and the daffodil, the violet and the celandine; and the churchyard was carpeted with blue and white-petalled Chionodoxa, or glory-of-the-snow. Down the lane towards the river ash trees were coming into flower ...    

The male flowers of the ash tree. Ash trees can have all male flowers, all female flowers or a mixture of the two. What is more, male trees can change into female trees, and vice versa, from one year to the next. Apart from this arboreal gender bending, the ash is also supposed to have healing properties, and in Germanic and Scandinavian mythology it's known as Yggdrasil, meaning 'Tree of the World', 'Tree of Rebirth and Healing', 'Tree of Terror', 'Tree of the Gallows' or 'Odin's Horse' — take your pick.  

... and in the hedgerows the snow-white flowers of the blackthorn and the acid-green leaves of the hawthorn were tentatively emerging. Though most trees still revealed the tangled abstractions of winter ...

The bare bones of winter.

In the middle of an old gravel pit lake stood an island of tall trees — home to a colony of herons and cormorants. Since I was last here a local Wildlife Trust had put up a birdwatchers' hide, which you can see in the picture below. This morning the place was already quite noisy with birds, but in a few weeks the din will be enormous, as the cormorants and herons squabble over their territories and patch up tree-top nests with sticks, reeds and branches ...

Birdwatchers' hide overlooking a colony of herons and cormorants.

A closer view.

I left the lake ...

More of the same.

... and headed along the river. Gradually, as riverside supplies of sand and gravel are exhausted, the quarrying companies transform these unpromising areas into nature reserves, though this particular spot  still has some way to go ...

Entry barred — unless you are a cormorant.

Not a great deal of colour yet in the March countryside, but when I got home these primulas in the garden gladdened my heart ...

A tub of primulas.

13 comments:

Suman said...

Beautiful! I could almost smell the spring in your words. Loved 'the tangled abstractions of winter'...
We have a similar palette blossoming here; I just can't wait for the blooms.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Those primulas are lovely Robert - the secret is to keep them outside. So many folk buy them on market stalls, bring them home and then bring them indoors where they perish after a day or two. Leave them outside and they are long lasting and reward you with lots of flowers.
The blackthorn is not showing here yet but we are probably a lot higher than you.

Ruth said...

Naturally beautiful, and more fetching still out of your pen. I am quite taken with that rustic fencing; if you told me the cormorants had built it with the remains of their sticks, I'd believe you.

Our spring (summer more like) is here too early, which is welcome enough, but I do hate jumping from no-winter straight into H O T. And I won't be surprised if there are a couple more winter storms to be sloshed through in the meantime. This is Michigan after all.

Susan Scheid said...

Primulas, such a cheering sign of spring. I am down in the city (New York City) today, and, as always, am surprised at how much further spring-ward the city is than up by us. I, too, was taking stock, looking for signs, and there were many.

Grizz………… said...

This is always the perfect way to meet spring—afield and afoot. And there's simply no better time of the year for a ramble.

I enjoyed this post—photos and writing—immensely. You live in lovely country. Thank you for taking me along.

Goat said...

Ah, great to see you rambling through the countryside again, SW. Enjoyed your botanical descriptions immensely. Over here, I'm excited about the prospect of the drab brown hills and the ragged-looking rice paddies greening up (and hiding some of the trash!)...

Gail said...

Hi - ]such a lovely walk to involve with Spring - beautiful pictures, I enjoyed our time.,
Love Gail
peace....

Mike said...

In Search Of The Spring. Oh yes it's a beautiful season for me too. Just open our eyes and see the colour of the spring all around changing the landscape day after day.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Suman and Weaver for your comments. Today is a gorgeous spring today and everything's coming on in leaps and bounds.

Yes, some Wildlife Trust volunteers put up that traditional fencing, Ruth. Like you, I like the seasons to slip into each other gradually.

Susan — I think cheerful's the word for those flowers.

Thanks, Grizz! Coming from a writer such as yourself, that's a compliment indeed.

That's such a different landscape, Goat ... and Gail and Mike, thanks for visiting!

Friko said...

I do that sort of thing every day too: looking for signs of spring and I usually find some. Hurrah, we've survived another winter!

We have a heron on the river but I haven't seen cormorants. But we do have red kites, which are gradually pushing out the buzzards.

The Solitary Walker said...

I saw a crow harrying a buzzard the other day, Friko. And seeming to win the battle despite being smaller.

am said...

Spring in the Midlands is once again quite beautiful!

In the last few days it is looking like spring here, too.

With a little research, I learned that Samwise Gamgee named his daughter Primula after Frodo's mother. I hadn't realized primulas and primroses are the same plant (-:

The Solitary Walker said...

And there was I thinking it was a cheese spread, Amanda!