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Midsummer’s treasures

June 24, 2010

On our daily walks over the past week, we have discovered some delights in the midsummer world around us.

For example, this beautiful apricot rose, blooming on a gnarled old climber against the castle wall.

(It reminds me irresistibly of this old chestnut by Frederick Leighton.)

'Flaming June' by Frederick Leighton, c.1895. (Image borrowed from

Under the eaves of the porch, my little boy discovered these papery fragments of shell, tiny enough to fit over the end of his finger:

It is a swallow’s egg, from one of the many little mud nests rebuilt every spring by birds returning from Africa.

We found wildflowers by the river:

and wispy high-pressure clouds overhead.

There was a memento mori in a grotto,

and forget-me-nots in the grass. (Yes, and my son has pink nail varnish on his toenails.)

Some of these treasures we brought home for our nature table,

while today’s collection of wild flowers, picked from the edge of the cow pasture, we put in a jug that once belonged to my granny.

And the point of this post? Well, if there is any, apart from simple pleasure in the season, it’s best encapsulated in the last verse of a poem by Walter de la Mare, which I have loved and lived by since my maudlin teens:

‘Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
In other days.’

See also: Tuesday: ‘The Trees’

8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2010 7:07 pm

    What beautiful treasures. I loved the comparison between the flower and the dress.

  2. June 24, 2010 8:12 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous photos!

  3. June 25, 2010 4:31 am

    Pretty wildflowers; I’d always take a bunch home to Mum. I found a tiny little wrens’ nest lined with feathers on the ground the other day and brought it inside.

    That rose really does look like Leighton’s painting!

  4. June 26, 2010 1:18 pm

    such a beautiful, whimsical post. It’s always the small things in life that bring the most pleasure. thanks for sharingx


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