The return of Persephone
We have at last reached the brief moment in the year when Spring bursts over the countryside. This year, more than most, everything seems to be coming at once: daffodils, horse chestnut leaves, starry wood anemones, modest wild violets, catkins and buds and leaflets all together, as if Botticelli’s Primavera is dancing over the grass or Persephone has returned from the underworld and is blowing her warm breath over the land.
The horse chestnut in the Wild Garden, my favourite wood, is always the first tree that comes into leaf near the castle. This is the one I watch and long for through the long, bleak, scoured days of pre-Spring. Here it is at last, a column of green light in the shadowed wood, translucent leaflets streaming in the breeze. All the other trees are racing to catch up now, buds swelling with life: soon the wood will be filled with verdant light.
After an exceptionally warm and sunny March, last year’s May Day was already green: see May greenness.
There is a beautiful illustration of a medieval May morning in The merrie month of May.
And to give you an idea of how late our Spring is this year, compare this post with First green of the year from April 2011.