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The return of Persephone

April 30, 2013

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.

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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.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2013 11:02 pm

    Botticelli’s Primavera, Persephone, and May Day. So nice to see the classics. I remember being very small and my grandmother who was visiting sat down with doilies, some ribbon, and little flowers from the garden. We made cone shaped holders with ribbon handles, put the flowers in them and I ran to put them on neighbor’s front door knobs as a surprise for May Day. So much fun. Thanks for the memory!

  2. May 1, 2013 4:35 am

    beautiful! love your horse chestnut – a veritable beacon of spring

  3. May 1, 2013 7:13 am

    Suddenly – yesterday – Spring has indeed arrived! And even a hint of warmer temperatures to come, if the BBC weather website is to be believed.

    • May 1, 2013 11:12 pm

      We had coffee sitting outside yesterday: a bit of a milestone in the year. It was properly warm in the sun! What a change from the snow of only three weeks ago.

  4. May 1, 2013 3:42 pm

    Oh, lovely, DB! What a welcome touch of green and a Tuesday tree. 🙂 Up here only the grass has greened so far, though there’s a hint that a few more of these brighter days may give us a leaf or two if we’re lucky. I simply can’t remember a May Day with no trees in leaf.

    • May 1, 2013 11:13 pm

      Ha ha, you noticed! I have been trying to sneak the odd Tuesday tree in quietly so as not to draw attention to how erratic they have been this year. 😉
      The thought of May morning with no leaves is indeed very odd. I hope your trees catch up soon.

  5. May 1, 2013 7:04 pm

    Lovely descriptions, and I can almost smell the new green leaves from your photos. I had a look at your 5th April 2011 post – just incredible to see how behind we are!

    • May 1, 2013 11:16 pm

      Yes, I do think that this is an exceptionally late Spring – even later than 2010’s, which came after that arctic winter. Such a relief to the eyes and heart, to see green at last.

  6. Erika W. permalink
    May 2, 2013 12:41 am

    We have the Duc du Berry’s May illustration as a postcard on our refrigerator–put it there this morning. Then we had breakfast (late, at 9:00 a.m.) on the open back porch and watched a pair of wood doves wrestling with enormous twigs to take for a nest, while a smug pair of woodpeckers, already sitting on eggs, watched from a nearby huge old maple. Just a perfect morning…and thank you for the Tuesday tree.

    • May 4, 2013 10:54 pm

      That all sounds delightful – including an illuminated manuscript on your fridge! 🙂 And you are another person who has noticed my sneaking in a Tuesday tree. I’ll try to make them a bit more regular again from now on.

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