Sunday, 21 March 2010

First Spring Morning

First Spring Morning

Look! Look! The spring is come; O feel the gentle air,
That wanders through the boughs to burst
The thick buds everywhere!
The birds are glad to see
The high unclouded sun;
Winter is fled away, they sing,
The gay time is begun.

Adown the meadows green
Let us go dance and play,
And gather violets in the lane,
And ramble far away
To gather primroses,
That in the woodlands grow,
And hunt for oxslips, or if yet
The blades of bluebells show.

There the old woodman gruff
Hath half the coppice cut,
And weaves the hurdles all day long
Beside his willow hut.
We`ll steal on him, and then
Startle him, all with glee
Singing our song of winter fled
And summer soon to be.

by Robert Bridges

The words of this poem came to me unsummoned this morning. A poem learned in childhood at my village school in Hampshire. I remember learning just the first two stanzas and reciting them with the other children in my class. Perhaps the third stanza was thought unsuitable and likely to encourage mischief?

This morning marks the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring in 2010. At last, the long winter seems to be almost over. We have had two days of rain, but it was soft, mild rain. So different from the icy needles of rain brought in by the north winds of winter. Today, although the land is wet with puddles, there is soft sunshine and birdsong.

Emerging soft young leaves of the wild arum, the cuckoo pint.

Buds break open to reveal the male catkins of Salix matsudana, the twisted willow. I grew this tree from a cutting taken from a tree overhanging the hedge of a large country house on the hill.

Small Tete a Tete daffodils that always open before the larger daffodils break bud.

Vivid blues of a silver leafed Pulmonaria.

The last of the snowdrops.

At last, grass is beginning to grow in the lawns and paddocks.

The mole has returned.

Almost there.......

First flowers of Germander speedwell among foxglove seedlings.

One of the empty nests awaiting the return of the swallows. Today they will be on their way from Africa, flying northwards.

The Lion Pony ( named because he was once destined for the abbatoir and then to the lions at Longleat Safari Park) who will be three years old this spring, has grown a thick, fluffy coat this winter.

The Ginger Pony`s flaxen mane, washed clean by last night`s rain.

Young nettles emerge on the muck heap in the field.

The first dandelion flower of spring.

Sunlit moss and lichen on tree bark.

Out in the lane, heart shaped leaves of violets are showing on the ditch bank.

Wood sorrel , its leaves like those of clover, emerges from leaf mould on the bank.

A quiet, mild day of growth in the warming soil. A day when the air smells of new green foliage and wet earth, of spring. After a long and barren winter, a day of hope and possibilities.


Kath said...

Lovely photos, full of colour and optimism. Our pulmonaria has not flowered yet, but we have a few speedwell.

Bovey Belle said...

My Pulmonaria is out and one of the few things flowering. I have a pink one as well as the traditional blue, but I still prefer the latter. The recent rain suddenly brought everything on - leaves out, daffs now in bloom. March had been SO dry, I think everything had been waiting for rain before flowering. Lovely photos from around your garden and along the lanes . . . The ponies look well.

Dartford Warbler said...

Thank you both. We have a pink pulmonaria somewhere but no sign of its flowers yet.

Parbati said...

Simply beautiful...both the visuals and the emotions they evoke...hope after dismay and spring after winter...