Monday, May 4, 2009
On this misty, rainy morning we climbed a hill ...
and walked through the bluebell woods ...
... and along a leyline and passed a church and two dogs and their owners and marvelled at the bluebells and the cornflowers and the pink campions and the rape (ugh, hate that word but the fields are shockingly, wonderfully yellow) and the red soil. And against the red soil the green, young green wheat, green woodlands. In the field, larks rose around us, singing.
A verse from the John Masefield hymn came to mind
Lo, all my heart's field red and torn
and thou wilt bring the young green corn
the young green corn divinely springing
the young green corn for ever singing.
Echoes of long ago school assemblies. Horrible, I hated my schooldays but on this particular morning the angst has faded and I'm not going to quibble about the religious theme. Masefield, the avid reader, seafarer and eventual Poet Laureate, was a local lad: he knew about red soil. And it is a beautiful poem ....
... the laughter of holy white birds flying after
On this hill, the parliamentarian armies laid siege to our royalist city in the valley below over four centuries ago. The men were so hungry they ate the cider apples in the orchards and the potatoes and robbed the farmhouses of bread and towards the end in extremis resorted to eating acorns. Difficult to imagine today in all this greenery and lushness. Indeed, the land is almost too perfectly cared for, too well manicured: wild flowers flourish along the lanes, no pesticides on these verges, no litter that I could see. A mystery solved when the landowner's name is spotted on a notice. Enough to convert one into a present-day royalist.
The hardest part of the walk was the last part, climbing the hill for the second time. A steep, hard pull. Near the summit we rested on a log on the edge of the wood in silence for five minutes or so. The field in front of us rose steeply, the line of the horizon curved like a giant's back recumbent against the sky. Raindrops on leaves. The moist smell of earth. The harsh call of a pheasant. The distant murmur of traffic, faint but just discernible. I hadn't wanted to come out this morning, had something on my mind, hadn't wanted to see anyone. Yet growing older, I have learned from experience that I don't always know what's good for me and consequently can be persuaded. By people I trust, by an uncertain yet stubborn faith in the apparently random flow of life.
"Shall we go?" my companion asks. We head for the car. Next stop, the house and a late lunch.
The shoulder still stiffens when I spend too long here at the computer. I overdid it on Friday and it took thirty six hours for the pain to subside. Thank god that nothing is obligatory in the blogosphere. Short posts, long posts. Whatever works. Right now, photographic posts seem to fit the bill. I love taking photographs and it's easier on the body than writing.