A Song for May - This post is a mashup of anecdote, memoir, and selected prose from Richard Jefferies and W H Hudson, illustrated with seasonal atmospheric soundscapes. Join me for a day, if you will in a celebration of nature’s symphony ...
What better introduction to Spring than this quotation from the writings of Richard Jefferies.
"The bird upon the tree utters the meaning of the wind—a voice of the grass and wild-flower, words of the green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweetness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud, the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil—all that is delicious and beloved of springtime are expressed in his song. Genius is nature and his lay, like the sap in the bough from which he sings, rises without thought". —’ Field and Hedgerow’: Hours of Spring. Richard Jefferies
Jefferies’ field notebooks are full of references to the passing seasons. Each year he carefully noted the first signs of spring and summer and found happiness in the visible tokens of the seasons as they returned. As he wrote in The Open Air “I knew the very dates of them all—the reddening elm, the arum, the hawthorn leaf, the celandine, the may; the yellow iris of the waters, the heath of the hillside. The time of the nightingale—the place to hear the first note.”
Summer for me starts with the first of the Spring and Summer migrants - Swallow, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, although the very early ones of the latter may have overwintered. Soon followed by Swift, which for almost as long as I have been in North Wales - 25 years now - have turned up on May 12th.
How better to start this post than with a quote from the writings of Richard Jefferies:
The fervour of the sunbeams descending in a tidal flood rings on the strung harp of earth. It is this exquisite undertone, heard and yet unheard, which brings the mind into sweet accordance with the wonderful instrument of nature.—' The Life of the Fields': The Pageant of Summer.
The thing I notice most at the beginning of Autumn is that it is still dark when I get up in the mornings to let the dogs out. With mist over the meadows and dewy morns. Rowan berries aplenty; Blackberry too. Red hips and haws colour the hedges a rusty red. And Rosebay Willowherb their tall spikes lit by the evening sunshine, followed soon by clouds of gossamer-soft seeds, floating like fairies on the balmy wind: The end of summer.
Our Northern (Winter) Thrushes - Redwing and Fieldfare
It’s Autumn: the time of year when the ‘chakking’ calls of Fieldfare in the hedgerows in the frosty early morning, preceded by the ‘seep seep’ night-time calls of migrating Redwing announce the arrival of our Winter Thrushes. They arrive anytime from late September but it’s not until the frosts of October and November that we begin to see them en-mass in the fields and hedgerows.
Eric Ennion was born on 7th June 1900 at Kettering in Northamptonshire, the son of a country doctor. In 1904 the family moved to Burwell on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens where, after studying medicine at Caius College and St Mary's Hospital, he joined his father's practice in 1926.
As an only child who grew up in the countryside I am used to open spaces and feel at home in the company and beauty of natural things. My favourite books as a child were those which engaged with the outdoors, and which seemed to hint towards an equally rich inner life or territory. As […]
Welcome to my Blog – a celebration of birds – in art and anecdote, poetry and prose – part memoir, part anthology, part nature writing, with biographical snippets about favourite artists. Follow me as I ramble through the year writing about the birds I see – share your own encounters with birds, or tell me about your patch … More
2019 / 05 – Bicycle debut 1340 – 1530 Overcast again. Grey cloud, but a very mild 10°C. Light SW An unexpected afternoon out of the office, and an opportunity to follow up a challenge I set myself for the New Year. Cycle to the Wood. It’s only just a little over 4 miles from […]
Trespasses. The fog and its hiding, muffled property lends me a welcome, invisibility cloak that I wear in repudiation of some kind of exile. Walking alone and further to get to familiar places sharpens the senses. By the swing gate, the upturned aspect of ash twig-ends, ending in lamp black buds like deer’s feet, show […]