The Tuesday tree: May greenness
Happy May Day! This is a day which, despite being hijacked by the Reds in the twentieth century, is always associated in my mind with the colour green. Ahh, isn’t May a beautiful month in Britain? April, however pretty, is still fraught with the possibility of frosts and even brief snowfalls (and indeed we have had both this April). In May, however, you can feel the earth exhaling, relaxing into the promise of summer. A slow green smile spreads over the face of the countryside. There is blossom on the fruit trees, there are flowers in gardens, and even the most hesitant of trees (the ash is usually last, and the beech and sweet chestnut have been slow this year too) are flowering or unfurling their first translucent green leaves.
Yesterday I took the dogs through the woods at around six o’clock in the evening. It’s a lovely time to be outside. The landscape is softened by the hazy light of evening, and birdsong fills the woods.
At the weekend my husband and son repaired the woodland path which had been destroyed by the clear-up operation after the winter storms. They have done a lovely job, so the dogs and I follow their trail of stones into the heart of the wood, past the green horse chestnut.
Overhead, the fulness of the horse chestnut contrasts with the first tentative sprays of green on the silhouettes of the beech. To me, there is no green so exquisite as the green of spring beech leaves: they are later than last year, so I have all that to look forward to.
By contrast, the new growth on the oaks looks quite a rusty, golden green.
And the new oak leaves look more like little frills than the misty spray of the beech leaves.
This May, I wish you every shade of sweet, refreshing, spring green.