Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Taking Eggs to Mair
The early evening sun is slanting golden rays across the fields as I walk down the lane to take my neighbour Mair her weekly box of eggs. Lambs bleat at me through the hedge as I pass by. They have grown quickly, already they are half the size of their mothers.
Each week I walk down with a box of eggs for Mair; each week the changing seasons have something new to show me. Today there is a sharp chill in the wind, but there is bright sunshine and blue sky. Shy violets purple the bank of the stream. The daffodils are all but finished, now there are celandines and windflowers and soon there will be bluebells. In the hedge, the exuberant froth of blackthorn blossoms contrasts with stark black thorny twigs. the new hawthorn leaves are such a vivid green, the very essence of spring rebirth. The smooth grey limbs of the ash tree glow in the light of the setting sun.
I listen to the bird song, hoping to hear the happy chatter of swallows, but not yet. Soon, soon, those joyously swooping spirits of summer will return. But not yet.
Savouring the sights, scents and sounds, I walk slowly down the hill - and even more slowly back up again. It is steep, and even after living here 11 years I am still rendered breathless by the time I return to my own gate.
Now I wander down to the geese. Buffy and her new beau Spike have been wandering all day by the greenhouse, feasting on the tender spring grass there. Now I shut them safely back in their pen before twilight - and any peckish foxes in the vicinity - descend. Then I make my way back up to the house through the vegetable patch, noting with satisfaction the profusion of golden cowslips in the flower bed by the compost heap. The apple tree is just starting to come into leaf, and soon the flowering cherry will be putting on her show stopping display of fairytale pink blossom.
In the dark days of winter I longed for spring. And now it is here and passing all too quickly. It is good to take a little time out to fully appreciate the onrush of spring. It is lucky Mair expects her box of eggs each week. It's the perfect opportunity to stroll down the lane, sniffing violets and listening for swallows and keeping an eye open for the first bluebells...