Yesterday afternoon I began writing a blog entry which somehow just didn’t get finished in time to post last night. That’s why the first section is not written in quite the same way as the second bit – it was written yesterday afternoon after a long and peaceful walk.
Having spent the morning boiling up various herbal concoctions on the hob – elderberry, cinnamon and ginger syrup, thyme and liquorice syrup, a batch each of mullein leaf infused oil and calendula infused oil, and finally ten jars of spiderweb salve – I decided that enough was enough, and headed out for a walk, since the weather this afternoon has been gloriously blustery, typical April weather. The wind, while cool, has lost its sharp teeth, and while I could pretend that it was having to walk against the wind that slowed my pace down to a leisurely stroll, I would certainly be lying if I claimed that as the only reason for my slow pace. Spring has got off to a wonderful start, the grass vibrant around me, and as usual I find myself spellbound by it all, quite literally looking at everything with fresh eyes, as if it is the first time I have ever seen it. Not true, of course – many of my old friends have come back out to play, daisies with rich pink edges to the petals, speedwell like splinters of sky in the long grass, so easily missed if you aren’t looking carefully for it. The ground ivy, or gill-go-by-ground, is flowering already in places, and the violets are still going strong. Toby dragged me up the path, clearly as eager as I was to be outside, gamy leg notwithstanding, and seemed impatient with my slow pace, but I refused to be hurried for a change and ambled along, looking at everything. The blackthorn, Morgana that she is, is currently hiding her crone thorns behind a lovely and deceptively innocent show of maidenly flowers, palest pink and ivory, while the hawthorn has a coat of glossy, brilliant green leaves. The corn field to my left has tiny tendrils of young plants, more like grass than grain at the moment, waving stems like coquettish fingers at the sky as the wind combs through it. Later on, the corn will undulate seductively, stroked by the wind into sinuous motion like the sea, and still later, the grain mother will dance under the sultry skies, as the year turns oppressive. All this potential in one small plant – seems strange and wondrous that I have seen this so many times before, yet still look forward to it each year with the same delight. There is something intoxicating about this time of year, all the way through to the end of May – the sheer verdant lushness of it is a veritable fairyland, and the celandines dancing in sunny drifts through the bottom of a ditch that until recently was filled with snow water certainly look like tiny faery folk in their yellow and green finery, shield shaped leaves with silvery patches standing out beautifully against the grass. Another old friend, the Silverweed, has reappeared in clumps in the verges, marking where the ground tends to flood. Later on the velvety silver petals will be graced with equally velvety yellow flowers that I can remember enchanted me as a child, and still manage to do so even now.
This afternoon will find me out in the garden, weeding – as the sudden bursts of april showers have hastened the growing of all the little plants which are really not in quite the right place. Dirt under my nails feels so very good after a winter of being stuck indoors due to the heavy snow. Winter last year arrived early and stayed quite late, but it all seems to have been only five minutes ago when I was sitting by the fire, watching the snow fall in endless swirls of silver and glitter. The world seems to change so much in the blink of an eye, but at the same time, somehow it doesn’t seem to change at all, the march of the seasons all part of one seamless whole. Truly magical.