Budding Hope

February 28, 2011

Budding Hope

There was sun before the rain, yesterday. For a moment I thought the rain would sweep me away. Then came the night. This morning it was bitterly cold. A cherry tree blushed into bloom. I think spring is to come, and hope is in bud. I breathe on it at times, to keep it warm. I’m waiting. Waiting still.


February 26, 2011

Golden Tussilago

I found Tussilago by the water’s edge. All is well now, on the surface. The clock is ticking in the silence. I wonder if everything I do is wrong.

Springtime Promenade

June 13, 2010

Bluebell Beeches

One morning in late May I caught the first train to the rural outskirts of London and was rewarded with the most beautiful of springtime sights.

Hilltop Town

It did not take me long to wander downhill from the station and through the old town that resides in the valley beneath the modern settlement. Before the first half an hour had passed I could overlook the western part of the town of the hilltop which I had climbed.

Keeping Gate

Having cleared the town and its outskirts, I found myself passing through the barrier that separated the urban and the rural countryside: a charming gate blushing with rust.

Dust Road

The first field put me in a feeling of sheer delight, the rolling slopes encouraging me to believe I was one with the sky as the wind played with my long skirt. Eventually, I reached a dust road that promised to carry me as far as I wished.

Dandelion Hill

My springtime walk took place late in May, and I found the first generation of dandelions had allowed their sparkling gold to fade to the hue of cotton-like copper I so adore.

Bluebell Forest

I shall always with fondness remember my first visit to a forest whose atmosphere was adorned with the sweet, perfumed scent of bluebell hyacinths.

Power Line

Although I had walked for almost five consecutive hours, it was still bitter-sweet to know I had reached my final destination and my springtime walk had come to an end. Never the less, my first introduction to the British countryside did nothing but cement my affection and enamour me yet more.

[This post features pictures taken during the walk detailed in Weightless Adventures.]

Thank you Vil for helping upload these pictures when my Internet connection laughed at me!

Weightless Adventures

May 24, 2010

blue bells
Image by lone snapper.

It was a wonderful morning as she awoke, the sun tickling her face as it was filtered through the curtains she had drawn the evening before. A whisper of a breeze floated through a window, only barely open. Even before she opened her eyes, she knew an amazing day was to mature from the fairytale morning.

An impromptu vase stood on her windowsill as she went downstairs, the plastic cup filled with flowers that had spread their lovely scent overnight; the sophisticated jasmine with its sweet tones, the heavenly blue forget-me-nots that twinkled in the morning light. There were the vanilla notes of the cow’s parsley and the precious, barely distinguishable whisper of the pink clematis.

Running to the train station to catch the first train of the morning, the air played with her golden hair and long skirt — in her mind she was the essence of times past, and nothing could delight her more.

Travelling thorough landscapes she knew she would never tire of, she all but flew out of the front carriage of the train, floating down the swindling road on the hill that climaxed in a valley with the town above her and the rolling hills before her mesmerised eyes.

Her path led her through the oldest parts of the town, the small houses crooked and aged, their lacquered doors however smiling kindly at her as she passed, the lace curtains modest eyelids concealing the lives of those who lived within.

Eventually, she found herself by the edge of a field, its rolling expanse a terrestrial wave frozen in its ascent, the height swindling and exhilarating from where she stood; the queen of the richness of the grassy sea.

In the sunlight, the grass shone with the fresh vigour of spring, as if it was the scalp of a creature so modest about its beauty it had hidden from sight under ground. As the wind played with the grassy curls, she, who stood in the midst of the ocean, would not have been surprised had a ship sailed past in the distance.

Eventually, the path upon which she travelled led her into the depths of a forest, the beeches embracing her with their grand architecture; their canopies a fair peridot ceiling, their silver stems the pillars of nature’s grand halls.

The floor of that ball room was covered with music, the light — all but heavenly — lavender blue bells softly dancing where they stood, gilding the atmosphere with their melodious, scented notes.

For a while, she stood, mesmerised, the sight before her so foreign, so beautiful. In her native lands, those she adored with all of her heart, the forest floors were adorned with the white stellar sparkles of windflowers, their fresh, musky scent a stark contrast to the sweetness that for the moment tickled her senses.

The metallic field of dandelions past the height of their bloom followed, the silver seeds filling the air as the heavens breathed, the copper of their stems a reddish hue adorning the grass, the few flower heads that remained a treasured sparkle of gold.

Walking upon the small lane that carried her across such fields, past farmhouses and small cottages, the sunshine kept her company, caressing her face and arms with its gilding warmth.

For a while, the hum of electricity through cables suspended above her head was all that interrupted the calm indifference of the eternity in which she had found herself, the modern reminder however soon again replaced with the twitter of blackbirds and robins in the canopies above, their duets only occasionally joined by a pigeon’s deep, velvety coo.

In the little village she thereafter reached, she realised her lovely adventure had come to an end. No matter how much she desired to spend the rest of her life suspended in the weightlessness nature’s freedom offered, she knew she had to return to the life that had granted her this dream-like escape.

Once back at home, with her remaining exam pocking for her attention, she looked out through her window into the sunny, all but Mediterranean afternoon, knowing her wonderful experience on the countryside of the land she so adored would remain with her forever; it having been validation of the enamoured beliefs which once had brought her there.

[Pictures taken during the adventure can be found here: Springtime Promenade.]

Candy Coated
Image by jakevol2 on Flickr.

The entire day had been spent in front of the computer, that modern marvel that had replaced the versatility and charm of pen and paper with sterile pixels. Chemical formulae, mathematical equations and labelled compounds had each figured on the back-lit screen, each as important as disinteresting. Fundamental as the concepts were, they had failed to appeal to her curiosity and imagination.

Despite the occasional diversion, in the shape of more inspirational writings on evolution, individual thoughts, or general prose, she felt the day had been a waste. Surely, a lot had been accomplished–but nothing of value. The day could have been spent in countless more appealing ways: the map on her wall could have been coloured and life granted to her imagination’s continent at last, or its inhabitants could have been allowed to speak and contemplate–to come to terms with who they were and what their desires were.

The notes scattered before her–with their chemical compounds and skeletal formulae–tasted bitterly in her sight. It felt silly an entire future could depend upon something that so evidently was not for her. Having forgotten who she once had been, she had failed to savour the challenge. As long as she managed to rise with the earliest birds the following morning and travel for hours to attend an assessment a mere half-an-hour in length her efforts would not have been in vain. Beyond that, she found her mind preoccupied with other desires and dreams.

The indoor air had grown stuffy, the illumed room an isolated space outside which darkness already had fallen, the skies a fading blue as the sun dipped beyond the clouded horizon. Failing to mimic the splendour of the sun the street lights spilled copper onto the ground. In an instant the decision was made, and even before she had risen and collected her pink-lined coat from where it had spent the day; in the shadows of oblivion.

Exiting her little cavern of light–the home she once had feared she never would find–she wandered aimlessly into the evening, swallowed by the mild air and veiled by the murkiness. The atmosphere was perfect; cold enough to numb her senses, but without painfully nibbling her fingers and nose. No mists accompanied her breaths and her thoughts were clear–cleared, perhaps, for none swirled beyond her eyes.

Blackbirds sang in the rose and blackberry thickets the winter winds had stripped of their grandeur. Yet, symphonies were delivered from within their blackened expanse, the birds marvelling over the beauty of the evening. Their melodies reminded her of the songs she had savoured in another life; one lost, but never forgotten. That life had been lived in-between dusk and dawn upon the misty fields of mid summer. It had been an untroubled life, and as such, destined to never last beyond the span of summer itself.

Peculiarly, the birds spoke in a different tongue. She knew their vowels and the other-worldly sounds that emanated from their silken throats, yet, there was an element to their tune that was foreign; ethereal in the silver context. The many miles that separated her lives were evident in the accent of the avian musicians, so soft it was barely perceptible, its nature impossible to palpate. Still, despite their novelty, the sounds soothed her senses, the spring evening reminding her of those long-lost summer nights.

Summer Skies

I have a favourite pair of earrings that I have adored since the very moment I made them mine. They are of the the whitest silver and bejewelled with a green faceted stone that shimmers in every colour of the rainbow when hit by sunlight. Truly, they are an amazing pair of earrings adding the flair of elegance to even the most ordinary of days.

Today I went for a long walk to seek out my very favourite place; a miniature forest of nothing but beeches. Of all the trees in the world I regard beeches as my favourites, and at the peak of spring — when all the flowers are in full bloom — the small forest is a most delightful location to be; the trees towering silently above my head, their branches covered with the faintest of green sheens, the ground hidden by a cover of fallen and withered leaves.

It so happens that I upon returning home realised that my favourite earring had gone missing, and I realised that I must have dropped it while walking across the carpet of last year’s fallen leaves. It would have been impossible for me to notice a small earring falling among a thousand leaves, and so I knew the earring was lost forever, never to be found.

I had never considered the possibility of losing my very favourite piece of jewellery and of course I became very upset when it dawned upon me that my delightful earrings would not gild my days for eternity. They had until this day, but not any farther. Their time had come.

Nostalgically placing the lost earring’s now lonely twin back into my jewellery box this evening I understood that this was the final fate of my silver-green favourites; one lost forever, one remaining to remind me of times that now had passed. But they are pleasant times to remember and I should therefore not mourn my loss but instead think back upon all the delightful times we shared.

And, somewhere out in that beech forest my favourite earring now lies below the withered leaves. Windflowers grow there, breathing life into a carpet deposited by last year’s chilly autumn winds. High above tower the crowns of proud beeches, protecting what is below with their vast expansion.

The are worse final fates for a favourite in this world.

Have you ever lost a favourite or something you hold dear?

The Noblest Flower

April 18, 2009

Hepatica Duo

In previous years I have always claimed the windflower to be my favourite flower due to its fairness and elegance. Its appearance on the forest’s leaf-covered floor is a true sign of spring, and as the flowers grow tall and and plentiful during the last weeks of April the atmosphere is adorned with a green scent I very much believe to be the smell of spring itself.

In the Anemone nemorosa six petals the colour of purity and innocence surround a centre composed of a cloud of golden suitors swirling around modest green maidens in a frozen dance of courtship. It is a scene which I can spend a long time studying, simply because there is such beauty in the petite; one’s reward for leaning in to take a closer look.

This spring I believe my fondness to have found another — equally worthy — flower by which to be enamoured; the Hepatica nobilis.

The Hepatica is as elegant as its distant cousin the Anemone, however a flower more modest and well-mannered. While the windflowers cover the entire forest floor to form a lush carpet upon which the sun shines, the liverwort takes care to preserve its reputation by growing in clusters farther apart, making a tête-à-tête with it an experience much more intimate and pleasurable. So whilst the anemone attempts to with their numbers prove something to the rest of the world, the Hepatica is certain of itself and grows only where calmness is more abundant.

As the liverwort knows itself well and conjures its elegance from such knowledge, it also dares to differ. Whilst the windflowers only dare to shine as brightly white as they always have — some finding even such an anonymous appearance too much and allow their petals to blush pink — the Hepatica understands how to be unique and not two of their plants have flowers the same colour; the petals in a single grove often shifting from the deepest of velvet blues to the brightest of scarlet pinks. Every once in a while — does one only care to see to the small — one comes across a Hepatica vastly different from all else, their petals light-blue, light-pink, or even sparkling white.

The Hepatica is the most noble of the spring flowers with its bright white and lustrous gold that adorn the centre of a midnight blue rosette. Upon closer inspection it is revealed that the pale and fair suitors are bowing to honour the golden maidens in the centre, as if their modesty was paid every respect in the world.

The foremost proof of the liverwort’s nobility is however its colour, as it is as blue in petal as royalty is in blood. And indeed, this has been recognised by botanists of ages past, for is there any other reason for why its medicinal name has been gilded with the sophisticated ring of nobilis?

The First Day of Spring

April 1, 2009

Golden Tussilago

The first day of spring is a magnificent day; the day the world so eagerly awaits; the sole reason for why winter is painfully endured. It is the day when one realises winter is as far away as it can possibly be, all because spring finally has won the epic battle of the elements: spring – with its freshly melodious name – is the season victorious and a time of plenty is about to begin.

The first day of spring is a very special day, and fact is that it only occurs once every year. Commonly, it arrives most unexpectedly – one day being winter, the following spring – and does one blink, one risks to be blind to its brief moment of glory, destined to for an entire year regret now having paid attention to such an important shift of power. For, it is one thing to be there when a change comes about, and wholly another to be present whilst the rewards are reaped.

This year I was almost premature in welcoming spring and I was very close to celebrating the wrong day. So eager were I to greet my favourite season that I almost missed it. Yesterday was a windy day and though the breezes played with my hair, my ears were spared – bare, but not nibbled upon, exposed, but not turned red by the cold. The sun shone and the breezes were smooth upon my face; warmed by the sun which shone from a blue sky. I believed that to be a sign that the first day of spring had arrived, and I wished to tell the world.

I sat down with a pen in my hand – papers before me – eager to make a delighted note mentioning that the miracle of spring had come to grace the lands anew for the first time this year; that spring had come to stay. But I did not, for it did not feel right. Something, deep within told me that to do such a thing would be to do a thing rushed. And so I did not.

I am glad I did not speak before the time had come.

Today, when I walked upon brown fields scarred by the rage of winter’s snow and cast a long shadow due to the sun yet having to rise it highest in the skies, I realised that the first day of spring had arrived. Its arrival did not occur yesterday, nor would it tomorrow, for today was the first day of spring; today was the day I had awaited for so long.

Kneeling in the withered grass I removed the gloves I had used to shield my hands from the winds. Though the sun gilded my hair the winds were cool – not nibbling on my ears – numbing my fingers. That it was rosy appendages I used to pick the gold did however not matter; I found that the reddish hue enriched the yellow, making the small flower now in my hand glow yet more strongly; it was a shard of the sun and spring itself which had fallen from the skies and landed in the winter-brown grass; the first coltsfoot of the year was the whisper I had remained silent to hear: “The first day of spring has arrived.”

Like a young child I skittered home over the fields, the weights winter had placed upon my shoulders had been blown away by the faint breath that vocalised the whisper; the first day of spring had arrived and it had to celebrated. And so the coltsfoot, the smiling flower face in the shape of the sun, was gently placed in a small glass; the golden rim a symbol of the tribute I pay spring every year.

It is time to remove the cloaks which have shielded our faces and painted our eyes grey. It is time to breathe once more, time to smile and time to live, for spring is here and winter is at its farthest away:

The first day of spring has finally arrived!