I open my curtains at six fifty nine to sixteen jackdaws on the telegraph line. A group stake out, every eye focused down on me, staring and cawing intermittently. Corvid surveillance causes me some unease so I run downstairs to make the morning teas!
Don’t just stop to smell the roses, stop to smell it all: fresh mown grass, new cut hay, the tumbling scents of honeysuckle and jasmine stars. Stop to see as well. Pause your walk to watch a wagtail’s bobbing dance, to laugh at sheepish grins, applaud a strutting stoat and gasp at kestrel dives. Stop to touch the lupin’s furry seed pods, feel for yourself a cleaver’s stick, and welcome tall bracken tickling your face. Stroke the horses when their heads rise and peer over the wall, stay, talk awhile softly to each and every creature you meet, enjoying their wordless replies. Yes, absolutely stop, park your car in the lane, get out and cherish the chance to remain longer and linger at the sight of a rare brown hare running or sitting beyond the field’s barred gate, or as a moorland sweeping barn owl lands on his own pausing post and locks his piercing eyes with yours. Stop to listen too, to hear every birds’ song, from the sparrow’s chatter to the blackbird’s virtuosity and the curlew’s haunting call. Then look up again and truly notice each and every jewel like bird that graces a tree or visits the garden. And if you hear the kingfisher call on the winding river path, just wait, always wait, for you might just glimpse a flash of brilliant flight. Don’t just stop to smell the roses, take time to breathe and be in the woodland, the water and the wide open spaces long enough to receive the wild, unpredictable gifts of God that grow and roam and are – here for you to find.
They’re back again and I know it’s more customary to sing and serenade their colours and revelry, but haven’t you noticed they’re absolutely in gangs, mobs of seed spitting, bird feeder disrupting young lads. I love them, I do, they deserve descriptive emotion but before I can get there I’m laughing at the commotion. Finch faces, finch faces what are you so busy conniving? Golden but mischievous – darling bright scoundrels thriving.
The river path is lush now, growing high verdant green, and every several steps fireworks explode between. Caught mid detonation, flower-sparks shine, a dazzling scattering of stars frozen still in time. Strange to explain what I hardly believe, these breath-taking bursts are simply called ‘hogweed’.
What else should I serenade on Yorkshire’s day besides the bright rose, the white rose that represents her name? But so many more beauties come to the fore, the rivers, the dry-stone walls, the blustrous, broad-placed moor. Ten years I have lived here now, under her spell, and I still can’t find sufficient words to halfway tell how I love her with her heather, and her ever-changing skies, how she’s home and half-heaven in my awe struck eyes. I will walk out my devotion on her coast and up her hills, each step a caress as I explore and fulfil my promise to both of us to grow to know her well, woodland and wildlife, beck, field and fell.
We set off round the reservoir track, intent on a catch up natter, suddenly three are joined by a fourth keen to add more chirrup and chatter. Little interloping cricket, be careful where you leap, we are pleased to meet you but we have secrets to keep. Besides this seems a more dangerous route, you’ll need to watch for every flying boot. Jump to the left now, back to the grass, we’ll agree to let your intrusion pass.
What is smaller than a wren? A fledgling wren for sure! I saw for myself by the river, I’d never met one before. Like a furious, fluffy pompom, squawking in the tree, frantic because its mother was on the other side of me. I didn’t want to prolong its panic so I quickly carried on but was gladdened by glimpse of small stubby tail and miniature raucous song.
The wooded track at the end of the village is steep and narrow to climb, growing closer still now as late July bracken towers over brambles that trip and prick. The dog tunnels under and we, like jungle explorers feel our way through the dense curtains of foliage all the way up to the top to tread the lighter green of grassy sheep fields, and see the far, rolling hills. We reach the farm track where suddenly, a riot of roses spill their friendly colour all over a dry stone wall, like a chocolate box picture of Summer hedgerow bliss. And I smile as I remember how the struggle to ascend is always worth it somehow.
We know his game for sure now – the shy retiring woodland buck, for we’ve caught him in the act. We’ve seen him leave his calm, canopied retreat, leaping up the track and back to the fray and fracas of warren life, the endless demands of the drove. I wonder how often he sneaks away, how long he gets for this downtime, and if the other rabbits know his secret shaded peace.
I wish I could conjure words to set the song of water, but no string of sibilant sounds can capture the constancy of luscious liquid white noise. Always by the river, flow serenades me still, whether carried in rush, ripple or fall, its noise quiets my soul. It’s the same by the sea, with the crash and the draw, Iike a raging lullaby that storms and soothes all fear away.
The first time I saw a mole I was beyond surprised, for they’d been so much bigger in my childhood mind’s eye. Pictures didn’t give me scale and stories evoked a sense of a creature more a rabbit’s size than of such diminutive length! And now the mole has shocked again with new biographical information, it turns out to have a super power – it’s a complete digging sensation! A full twenty metres each day they tunnel with tiny searching claws, just imagine how far you’d get as a human, if their talent was yours! Strange to think of them under us, practically whizzing around, subterranean superheroes hiding obscurely underground.
I watch a kestrel plummet from soaring high to valley’s depth – a staggering daredevil drop – and I wonder, is it all about the hunting? Or do they also feel the whoosh and thrill of flipping stomach when they fall? Like the rush of roller coaster dips that leave you hungry for the next ride.
When setting off across the path to make her home on better turf, I don’t imagine this tiny snail thought she’d be leaving earth. To keep her safe from tramping feet, we momentarily lifted her high, what a change from what she’d planned – temporary housing in the sky! We landed her back on her previous course, grounded and safe on pastures new, they say moving house is stressful, I hope it wasn’t traumatic too!
The fields are dressed for a summer fete, everyday green transformed by July best bonnets bright into rainbow-rich delight. And among all the bobbing, chattering heads, the Meadowsweet grows tall – offering its candy floss to the flowers, and to all.
I follow the footsteps of botanical explorers and press my fresh picked fern into deep Prussian blue. I trust the sun, the waiting, the water… and marvel how, with photography at my fingertips, this rediscovered technique of picture painting play can bring me utter joy. It grows now forever, an immortalised white fern on a cyan fabric square. But also yields its life, green to gradual curling, gingering, gently -furling – a perfect specimen captured in a small glass bottle. What was it like when this was newly all there was – great brave science recording with accuracy for perpetuity brand new exotic species from far flung lands? It must have seemed, as it half does now, something faintly fantastical, beauty, form, life – arrested on a page by powerful noon-day light.
Far from the colony, away from warren bustle, the woodland buck goes hunting all by himself, alone. He only knows what he forages for here, whether choice fallen fruits or simply peace not found at home. We see him often now exploring dappled dank forest floor, at ease with us watching him despite his introverted ways.
The light has dipped, the sun is low, invisible to us now. But somehow, in a rain free sky, a full and faultless cloudbow arcs high and muted bright above the gloaming light. In all my years of sunsets and rainbows, this is something I’ve never seen, and I linger in the garden to gaze at it longer, unsure if I’ll ever catch anything like it again. You never reach the end of creation’s wonders however long you live, no matter how far you explore; endless possibilities open, limitless beauties surprise and stagger as you walk your way over our broad green-brown-grey earth, and live out your days under its shifting grey-blue-pink skies.
Suddenly the potting shed transforms to Asian arbour as myriad jasmine stars begin to come to flower. I make a daily pilgrimage to breathe in their scent, green tea and sticky rice playing happily in my head. Upstairs in the bathroom draw, a Yardley soap with this essence is waiting to echo jasmine’s joy when summer’s no longer present.
Red sky at night, everyone’s delight. No matter what it foretells of promised sunnier spells, the magic’s in the moment where fuchsia and magenta brush and streak the setting gold. Never mind your landscape, your native fauna and flora, all of us share sunset gifts with their wide, bold wonder. I like that sense of unity – wherever your patch of sky, you’ll receive precious evenings draped in this vibrant high.
Today was a duet of sunshine and showers, alternating soakings over several hours. First one, then the other, now both in time together, a swirling, whirling dance of light counterpointing weather. Black cloud backdrops make for brighter spotlights on the hills, damp drizzle downpours all the more serving to fulfill the sweet feel of warmth as the choreography begins directing sunlight surges to drift and filter in. Down by the river is like a hothouse at Kew, close and heady with heavy mid afternoon dew. I choose to play along and get thoroughly drenched, then sit writing in dazzle on the swing bridge bench.
Not once, but twice this week now, I’ve spotted a spotted red bead against all conceivable odds among the long meadow grass. This second cousin of the first displayed pure acrobatics, ascending and descending green sheer vertical poles. The grass was dancing wildly as trees in gale force wind and it made me marvel still more at this ladybird circus act. When you appreciate the scale, this is extreme dare-devil sport – talent and technique shining hidden among the long meadow grass.
Today I saw a kestrel seeming floating on the breeze, looking, for all the world, totally at ease. But this sight transpired to be optical illusion, for the bird was not still but in constant motion. When they suspend they are really flying swiftly, matching speed to opposing currents completely. How do they judge an equation so precise – let alone while looking so far below for mice? Science and sorcery meet among the thermal winds, while we drive past and on towards town and prosaic things.
It was my turn in the bathroom but when I arrived a tiny creeping creature was already inside. I tried to reason with him saying, “Mr Woodlouse, if you want to take a shower, obey the rules of this house. You’ll need to wait in line, and when your time comes, you can’t share with a woman, that simply is not done.” Of course he ignored me, but he did go on his way, so my ablutions were kept private, hip, hip, hip hooray!
Like a needle in a haystack, the chance of seeing her there, one tiny red bead in the long meadow grass. But I spotted her spots and was instantly a child, compelled to feel her crawl through the blades of my fingers. Ladybird, ladybird, what a treat to find you, a tiny little gem on a weekday morning. You took some convincing to go back to your true stems, was it fun to meet a lady-human in the long meadow grass?
It’s funny who you meet on a Sunday morning amble, neighbours, tourists, friends, and then close by the brambles, a tiny trotting stoat with little white throat and vivid titian coat struts out into the road. It doesn’t stop to chat, it’s gone without a greeting, but it lights up my day, a brief but brilliant ginger meeting.
All across the meadow and down by the river, ringlets are rising in chocolate hued quivers. We try to get the angle right to find and study their rings, but they won’t stay still enough – they’re intent on flightier things.
The path was as wet as the river when we still set out to walk, intent on blowing out cobwebs and starting weekend talk. All was streaky watercolour green, everything leaking, seeping its seams, smudging and fast becoming indiscriminate haze. When suddenly, all in a rush, a tiny cobalt dart swiftly brushed the water to make a work of art. Its dazzling brilliance shone then, as quick, was gone. And we stood in the rain, unaware of its soaking, lost in kingfisher awe – a turquoise gift-wrapped moment.
Peppered round the dale, gardens, verges, moor, woods, river are little purple forests growing tall and fine. Miniature Scots pines swaying in the breeze, bending all their strength to ring their merry berry bells. Splashes of bright colour that always bring delight, whether weed or wild they’re welcome with me.
But who was the thinker and what was the thought that decided foxes’ fingers would fit in tiny petal sleeves? Foxgloves seem more suited to forming party hats for stoats but I’m not sure such renaming will catch on with many folks… So I’ll just allow my sketch to celebrate their beauty, and leave the etymology to heritage and dictionary!
Deep in the woods, among the dank of the dale, grow some curious fungi who have learnt how to scale the heights of ash and beech to spread their creeping reach into little elven shelving, and mushroom moths unfurling, all green streaked white and beige against brown, forest green and sage. Some even splay like goblin palms as if stretching out with no qualms about touching passing strangers to dissemble and disarm. I expect my fairy toadstools to dance in circles on the ground, but I’m quietly being enchanted by the bracket fungus I have found.
When I want a drink, I just turn on the tap. But nothing so pedestrian awaits this sparrow acrobat. Up on the conservatory roof, legs spread wide as a giraffe, he tilts and turns full upside down to take a simple draught – squeezing head through tiny gap, a limbo dancing ninja, goodness me, what circus act will he conjure during dinner?!
Is there anything more perfect than the moment I see the first sweet peas of summer winking back at me? This year they’re by the wayside, growing wild and free, a cacophony of colour tumbling over hedge and tree. They feel like garden runaways scaling fence, breaking boundary, I wonder where they’ll steal to next to share their cheer and glee.
Heaven sent moist bracken scent to stir my sense of wild. Childhood southern seaside chines in adult northern moorland wide chime, converge, collide. This is how adventure smells, the quest – descent or climb, England a borderless glasshouse, an exotic landscape to find.
Well intentioned phrases say, “look up”, “lift your head”, but sometimes there is beauty in looking down instead. Saturday’s walk was wet, my eyes were on the ground, I couldn’t see the stunning view but there was still treasure to be found. Strewn across the track, mixed with downtrodden grass, a thousand sugar sprinkles, discarded petal stars. Sweet fragrance in the air tells tales of their descent – It’s elderflower umbels for which they were meant. But tumbled here beneath me, each individual flower shines with a new and broken beauty those on the tree cannot find. And it makes me remember the brave wonder of this world, where the shattered and battered often transform into pure gold. So perhaps don’t be frightened to turn your gaze right down, there among the debris is something fresh and profound.
Yesterday was drenching but it still felt strange to see a heron walking like a person, up the lane. Far away from river, still not that close to beck, impossible to fathom what was going through its head. It was too far in front to photograph the stroll, which was disappointing as it looked rather droll. Best of all was the point it stopped to pause and wait, craning neck just high enough to snoop over Peter’s front gate!
The wind is rough, the thermals unsure, and stretched upon the wing, close to the house Red Kite rises and turns, is tossed, thrown and spun. A bird so often high and mighty is like its paper alias today, as if at mercy of current and string, as likely under as over – all spin. Less flying than surfing, more suspended than soaring, a wild adventure ride, Creature in its element, or element in its element? I’m left asking as both disappear.
Out on the terrace, near the curry leaves, a flower comes to bloom, delighting to deceive. Nestled at its heart among lily orange petals bright, an apparent chocolate truffle offers up a trickster’s delight!
Goodnight gorgeous gloaming, you perfect evening lantern show. Thanks for flooding my bedroom with your magic golden glow. My west window’s a portal to time between times’ shine, to somewhere more than sunset I ache to capture, keep as mine. It feels wrong to close my curtains in the presence of such light but despite summer’s solstice, I need it to be night. So goodnight gorgeous gloaming with your halcyon hints of glory, return soon so I can climb the stairs and retrace my steps into story.
There is a fragrant type of rose I don’t often see, it grows in Irene’s garden, its name’s not known to me. But two years now in June when she’s come round for tea, she’s brought us its flowers in a little gift posy. This year when she left, I remembered its story, how all that beauty and perfume found a second round of glory. And though I knew from last time the recipe would come through, it still felt girlish make-believe to mix a petal strewn pink stew! But when sugared water plays with rose, perfect scent transcends its sense, and magic liquid Turkish delight pours out delicious decadence.
A rustle in the leaves nestled near the track then suddenly we see him, almost lost in brown on brown. A mini mountain climber hauling up his hill, crawling rhythmic, almost vertical till suddenly he’s still. Pace and progress all forgotten when he senses us loom large, he freezes, hoping hard to merge with deep rich soil. We recommence our walk so he can reach his peak but remember him all day, the woodland toad we chanced to meet.
High up in my valley lies a secret second dale, its river is a beck, its hills mere bank sides steep. Gladed and shaded and overrun with moss, every inch of it fairied green as if time itself got lost. This is where I climb to walk my thoughts all out. I leave them in the rock pools that break the water as it falls.
My warren watching on a field side track is rudely interrupted by the sudden blur and buzz of a little orange helicopter darting through the tree canopy, like a tiny drunken pilot is testing out his moves. Unexpected colour, iridescent in the sun, demands my attention rises above hillside hopping fun. Spot it if you can, before it speeds away, the first dragonfly of summer dived across my path today.
This is how you know a fern is not bracken, its leaves flow from the ground in an emerald fountain. Everything unfurling from each single one was squeezed into its frond before the stretching was begun. I too will seek to trust this inside out becoming, leave behind sideways growth, sprawling wide and running.
What miracle magic is this to take a black spiked bug and transform crawling ignominy into something like fairy dust? The jewel patterned Peacock takes wing, fluttering with finesse and spin. Does its memory, however faint, remember the days before paint transformed jet black to vibrant hue and lifted it bodily to bird’s eye view?
Strung across the sycamore stump and among holly and hawthorn hedge, are bunches of pale fairy lights bobbing and twinkling between the green. Almost always just out of my reach, but determined to follow its climb, I stand on tiptoe beneath, a seeker of perfect highs. Gently bending a string towards me, sweet intoxication is mine, all at once, delicately hushed, in the garden, posh hand creams and candles fill my mind. I wonder if I’ll ever find myself rewilded quite nearly enough for nature’s purest pleasures to stop reminding me of man-made stuff. It’s a beautiful, layered sensation, all that luxury echoing round, but it leaves me quietly curious can true honeysuckle highs still be found?
This grass heart of unmown lawn left to meadow is a little love song calling to every bumbling bee. Linger among my wildflower petals, feast on their pollen sweet, hover and buzz all around me, you’re welcome to gather and greet.
The river path by us winds narrow and gnarly, so watch your step as well as the wild – especially where, among silt and stone, tree toes cross the path like splayed little crow claws, moving at wood stretching slow towards – not beside – the water. For I can’t help but think, even mighty oaks wince when careless booted walkers tread and trample on their feet!
Headed towards the river path through a field of unremarkable grass, I am on my way to somewhere when here transcends just route to pass. One step I’m not paying any attention, the next stops me as if at destination, compelled to pause, to better drink the scent of summer cordial fizzing in the air. Moving forward it fades, as quickly as it arrested, just like the sudden felt enchantment of beautiful new ideas, fragrances whispering “write me”, lost to the wind if not caught.
If strength is in numbers, today I learned Britain doesn’t belong to us, but to the tiny field voles who live beneath the grass. Many millions of mini mammals, an army of blackberry hunters, mining underground networks, predating kings and conquerors. I wonder what they make of us giant ground shakers above? I wonder if Victorious Voletannia is our island’s true nation state?
The performance starts two days late, but oh, when it comes, it astounds. Tumultuous timpani rolls open, then the plucking of rain begins; each staccato strike bouncing high from every newly made instrument with echoing, ringing springs. Now the wind roars in, the gutters squeak, and hail smacks the windows hard. And here inside, we listen in awe to virtuoso weather as constant crescendo serenades the valley and drowns out all domesticity.
A serendipitous moment, when something in nature mirrors another, familiar shape and all at once takes on all its meaning and metaphors. This time it’s a forgotten fragment, just a piece of discarded rose, easy to miss in bank-side bramble, but plucked out in triumph by you. “It’s a perfect heart!” you say, and I think to myself as you hold it – this is like my heart, petal, cup it gently, but safely secure for it’s a fleeting, fragile-edged thing, more flower than flame after all. Cherish its lingering fragrance, keep company with its translucent beauty, I trust you with it completely for as long as its bloom remains.
The first time I saw one for real, it perched on my shoulder. I was transfixed. Enraptured. So proud. The photo still projects that inner moment out and makes me smile a mirror image back to my smaller self some three decades on. It felt so wild, I remember the thrill, even though now I know the same engineered touch as tame. But all the more special, my history here, when I come less close, but seem more close, in those wondrous moments of chance encounter. A penetrating stare, a back garden pass, a maybe glimpse in the field. Low flight in moor’s dusk light as I drive by in twilight, soft landing on ruined tree. I’ll never see them enough to get over their singular rush every time they grace my world.
Who choreographs this wild wind dance to secret, silent score? Their seemingly effortless dramatics in synchronised floating acrobatics deserve a standing ovation. The near misses, the close crosses, the warp, the weft, the scatter. The duets, the trios, the whole troupe in full flow, the joy, the high jinx, the wonder. From premiere in May to September’s curtain call day, you’ll find me here, sat in awe. Lingering to watch, night after night, this dazzling aerial ballet.
It’s the zing of childhood glee in pure nostalgic taste. Last year’s shared crop was eaten like candy and candied to jams of deep purple red and frog spawn green. But this year, this year the gift has grown. It’s smaller for now but rooted and rising… a tantalising taste of what’s to come – an old fashioned sweet shop on my own back lawn! Already now, a leafy hand opens, offering me its enticing treat, the first, fine, plump little gooseberry, a glorious, gorgeous gobstopper fruit.
I think I’d get indigestion if I ate my muesli while swinging rapidly, dramatically, always to and fro. But the bird on my neighbours’ feeder is an extreme sport kind of eater. He munches unperturbed, seemingly undisturbed, as if it causes him no commotion to be flung in ocean like motion. But I suppose if you’re already good at drilling your head into wood, your view of a breakfast swing is a much more causal thing. So rock on woody, rock on, enjoy your fly-through brunch, I’ll see you again for peekaboo round the silver birch over lunch.
Newly planted, there’s no hint yet of tall tiered colour and carousels of bright, bold bonnets. But long before ruby-red carmine, nestled among the still-green, a perfectly centred aqua jewel – sun-polished to reflect sky’s blue – turns a humble multi-pointed leaf-star to a fleeting new shape of flower power before silently, secretly, stealing full away.
You’re right I should be protected, it’s overdue time for some serious alarm, but let me remind you I’m more easily adapted, than fatally, finally harmed. I’ll still find my ways of growing, despite your UPVC, I’ll break through your concrete with petals, you’ll struggle to ever tame me. You’ll find me when least expected, asserting myself in new ways, remember I was here before you, I’ve weathered countless days. I’m not suggesting complacent inaction, but I am reminding you to hope, my true present and potential future are way beyond your scope!
Dappled light plays on the path, casting spots, shining shifting beams. First a robin glows in the limelight, now holly leaves gleam newly mossy-bright. December reflections are conjured in June with subtle tricks of light, the now merging with yesterdays and tomorrows as yet unknown. The path’s such a threadbare metaphor, light breaking through such a tired idea, yet they’re inescapably, effervescently embodied on a day, on a walk, like today’s. I am moving through sunlight in shadow, following hope as illumined green. I am breathing the sweet scents of journey, I am here and not where I have been.
Double, double toil and trouble, notice stagnant drain bubble. Amphibious limbs stirring the stew can’t leap out or break through plastic pipe to find relief from impending, final sleep, till… suddenly lowered in kindly stoop a ladle comes, full size of the soup. Deus ex machina! Not a moment to soon, frog soars to safety on flying spoon.
Seven seconds of moment if that at eight fifty five one Wednesday evening. Right time, right place, thank the neighbours, he’s suddenly there, tucked right in close to the bank. Twitching nose up, on high alert to whole river, then gone in ripple of wiggle and shimmer.
Striding over hills, gliding over trees, the carnival arrives as we drink our morning tea. Dragons in our vista, giants tumbling by, a magic, mystery pageant in an English country sky. Early morning adventures while breakfasting in bed, enacting wisest nonsense, six impossibilities already in my head.
She wiggles her wings like fluttering eyelashes, all at once playing coy and coquette. He lindy-hops round in eager reply, to the rhythm of silent sound. Choreography rehearsed again the very next day as if this were the right-on hip spot. Dunnocks dance! Come on down! Dazzle us dizzy with your lively jive! Who says you’re just dull, drear brown?
There’s no appointment in the diary. But here he is on a Thursday morning, marching across the top of my screen demanding top spot on my task list. I squint to better assess his identity, but he comes from some tiny, alien outside world and I have never seen his orange hue or diminutive shape before. He is clearly here on long distance reconnaissance, a miniature discoverer bent on conquering Inside. Nose close, I see him lift his tiny front legs to his face, washing, or feeding, perhaps even waving, who’s to say? When I next look up from my words he’s gone, presumably finished with living room circumnavigation, maybe he’s now bravely claiming the hall.
It’s back again, pressing pause on life al fresco, putting a dampener on day three of thirty appointed wild.
Cats and dogs, drizzle and mizzle – we need the whole soggy symphony of words to shower down when we’re so often left bemoaning it in fifty flinty tones of exasperated grey!
Drat that smudger of pictures, the infamous drowner of parties. Blast that endless wet-wiper-outer of best laid plans!
But today, instead, I grant it absolution; re-name it simply, relief, and secretly, gleefully cheer it on: “rain, rain don’t go away don’t wait until another day”
Go on, join the song…
Clap as it waters the garden! Welcome the softening of hard, hard ground! Enjoy it diluting mercury risen and remaining… day after day, in a most un-English way!
Cherish shutting the doors and love living your inside life, set free from the burning compulsion to bask in every moment of rare British sun. Admit you share our natural, national condition – you were actually also quite missing the rain!
All is spring and going, growing gradual fruit… till stop! A sudden surprise shouts bright. What’s this traffic light change among the leaves? Two plump pioneers of summer gleam among the green, scarlet beacons of a nearly season nigh. And quickly June tastes like July; zesty, sweet and juicy red ripe. With one sight, and just one irresistible, little bite, here comes all that flavour zinging and singing – exploding the promise of picnics, parties, schools-out and pimms, of bunting and beaches, and long-lingering evenings, of lanterns, longing and lazy bliss. Here it is all at once now, all together in a rush now – a choice premonition of holiday boldly trespassing my everyday, like the scent of next door’s barbecue or a curlew’s call to the wild.
Hello buttercup, you deserve a closer look. More than cheeky lawn invader or nostalgic chin shine player, you shimmer your own sheen’s song in miniature canary splendour. Now I really see you, little sun, I notice your distinction among your companions as you scatter gladly among the grass in an earthbound constellation. Standing tall, petals splayed fiercely wide and free, you are a five limbed leaper held still in perfect, extended lines. Your head thrown back, abandoned to the sky, as if you had forgotten you were meant to be any sort of cup at all – while each of your neighbours huddles and cuddles her petals close, holding back her own perhaps-dance in reticent, secret possibility.