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an evening walk

May 9, 2010


Yes, another post about the great outdoors. But come with me if you will and, perhaps, you will see why not thinking about the green woods in May is like not thinking about the one you love in the first flush of infatuation. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)

We set off with the dogs into the woods behind the castle. It is around seven in the evening, at the end of a cool, sunny day. The lowering sun is shining over the lochan into the trees. The woods are loud with birdsong.

Under the trees,  a millefleures tapestry is spread beneath our feet. Wild violets, wood sorrel, narcissi have been blooming for several days now.

Today they are joined by the first bluebells: within a week, we will walk in a haze of blue here.

Emerging on to the edge of the woods, we stop to admire a clump of kingcups in the burn,

while the dogs take the opportunity for a cooling paddle.

An osprey, returned from her African winter, circles watchfully overhead, calling her gentle, fluting cry. When the crows harass her, her call changes to a deep, echoing cronk; this evening, however, she is at peace with the world and sounds milder than a kitten.

Back under the ever-present trees, the sun has moved round while we and the osprey have been observing each other. It is time to turn for home.

On the way back up the hill, we notice that clumps of bracken shoots are beginning to unfurl all over the forest floor.

This moment when flowers embroider the grass is a fleeting highlight of the year. By next month, these delicate little curls of bracken will have become a dense forest, as tall as a child, crowding out all other contenders for the light. Just for now, though, we walk homewards on an emerald carpet of trefoiled wood sorrel.

On a day like this, I would not wish to be anywhere else in the world than this green paradise. Except, perhaps, back at my own door again after a walk in the woods.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2010 5:26 am

    What a lovely post. Spring in Scotland looks gorgeous. You’re right though, coming home is the best thing of all.

  2. May 9, 2010 8:02 am

    Fascinating to see what is happening in your part of Scotland right now. Here on the edge of Exmoor, the green has suddenly burst forth,rather than slowly unfolding, as if desperate to make up for the time that it has missed. Everything is at least two weeks late.

    Nevertheless, as so often happens in tricksy May in this part of the country, bitter east winds have buffeted us, the temperature has dropped and there has been icy rain. For the past few evenings, the first thing I have done when we get back from the late afternoon walk is to fill the woodburner with logs and light a fire. This is the time of year when I think about turning off the Aga for a few months – we’re not quite ready yet . . .

  3. dancingbeastie permalink
    May 9, 2010 5:13 pm

    It does feel as if the green has come suddenly here, too. The daffodils are dying now but they were two weeks late in blooming, so we have had them only half as long as usual; it feels as if spring has been on fast forward. Our last snowfall was only three weeks ago, so it is hard to believe how quickly we have gone from winter to summer green – if not summer temperatures!

  4. Wendy permalink
    May 9, 2010 9:23 pm

    These are lovely photos – what a nice back yard you have! Lovely serene, soothing snaps I thought….. love the osprey too. Aren’t they beautiful to watch.

  5. May 10, 2010 12:34 pm

    Hi Kate,

    Lovely post…… isn’t the lime green amazing just now, and all the little woodland flowers, I LOVE May! Could you drop me a note of your e-mail as I have a little idea I’d like to chat to you about…..:)

    Lisa x

  6. May 10, 2010 12:44 pm

    Thank you for the lovely photos of trees and wild flowers! just catching up on your posts having snuck away for a weeks hols in Ullapool. Saw BIG trees there too – and wonderful mountains. Now back to… snow! Will visit your page again to cheer myself up and be assured that Spring is around *somewhere*!

  7. May 11, 2010 12:15 am

    So much to notice on your walk as spring unfurls.
    And what a cute puppy to see it all with!

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