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Blessed Beltane

April 30, 2014
Geans (wild cherry) in blossom

Geans (wild cherry) in blossom


The woods are at their most magical just at this moment. By which I mean, there is a surge of growth so strong you can almost taste it in the air, or feel it as a vibration in the earth. Sap is not just rising, but rushing: beech branches that held bundles of brown buds on Saturday are covered with green leaves today, and bluebells are flowering almost before my eyes.


New beech leaves and blossom emerging from their brown husks

New beech leaves and flowers emerging from their brown husks


The first bluebells beginning to flower in the beechwood.

The first bluebells beginning to flower in the beechwood.


Bluebells in the roots of an elderly beech.

Bluebells in the roots of an elderly beech.


Everywhere you look, there is new life: starry wood anemones, wild violets and shamrock-like wood sorrel embroider the grass, bare trees burst into green, baby rabbits scoot under the bushes and eggshells dot the ground here and there as nests fill up with hatchlings.



Wild violets in the beech litter

Wild violets in the beech litter


The horse chestnut in the beech woods is in full new leaf now.

The horse chestnut in the beech woods is in full new leaf now.


I could watch them all day...

I could watch them all day…


Low flying squadrons of wild duck quack overhead; roe deer lie low in the undergrowth to escape the sudden heat until flushed out by the dog. We have arrived at Beltane, the season of growth and fecundity, the most beautiful and blessed few weeks of the year.


Mallard duck in flight

Mallard duck in flight


This roebuck nearly cannoned into me: hence the burry shot!

This roebuck nearly cannoned into me: hence the burry shot!


An ancient beech in new leaf before a stand of Douglas firs, birch and redwood.

The new leaves of an ancient beech catch the sun in front of a stand of Douglas firs, birch and redwood.


Warm, hazy evening light over the woodland

Warm, hazy evening light over the woodland.



You might enjoy The Merrie month of May, with my favourite medieval depiction of the month; or you can find a brief description of Beltane (and a lovely spring poem by A. E. Housman) in What colour is your May?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2014 12:16 am

    It has been a rare glorious spring day here: low humidity, mid 70’s bright clear sunny skies. Couldn’t stay inside – rushing to get flowers and yard in shape before the normal hot weather arrives.
    Plants do seem to be growing as you watch right now. i have some of those little violets – I brought some from the farm before it sold – and for some reason they are flourishing here among the palms and far from the pines. They bloomed for some time, but are now fading ( it was 95 a few days ago) and will sleep under a wild Mexican vine with yellow flowers until the weather cools back down.
    Your grove of old trees is mystic. The forests sounds must be as enjoyable as the sight

    • May 1, 2014 11:35 pm

      It sounds like you can grow quite a variety of plants: I’d never have thought that palms and violets could grow together! Hope this summer isn’t too horribly hot for you.

      You are quite right about the sounds. Often I stop to listen as much as to look: honey bees buzzing, bumble bees booming past, rustles of rabbits and pheasants in the undergrowth, ducks overhead, curlews’ haunting cries down by the river, and always the great variety of birdsong…just beautiful.

  2. May 1, 2014 1:57 am

    Oh thank you for sharing your spring! Ours is still struggling, but there are small signs… I will enjoy yours while I wait.

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    May 1, 2014 9:50 am

    What a magical place you inhabit! Thank you for letting s share it.

    • May 1, 2014 11:37 pm

      It really is special. Hoards of visitors would scare away the wildlife – but it is a pleasure to be able to share it online.

  4. May 1, 2014 2:07 pm

    Just beautiful! What a perfect picture of all that Spring brings.

  5. hmunro permalink
    May 1, 2014 6:28 pm

    Toffeeappls is right: What a magical place you inhabit! Though, for me, the true magic lies in seeing it through your sensitive and perceptive eyes. Just beautiful.

    • May 1, 2014 11:39 pm

      Takes one to know one, Heather! 🙂 The hardest thing is sifting through the dozens of photos of utterly beautiful trees and flowers and views, trying to choose just a few to epitomise this precious moment in the year.

  6. May 2, 2014 8:31 am

    What a beautiful season, and your photos capture it perfectly. How lovely to wander in those woods, see the bluebells and encounter a roe deer! The last photo has a real suggestion of summer heat to it, even though the leaves are only just coming out.

  7. May 4, 2014 12:19 am

    What a wonderful spring it has been. I know exactly what you mean about it blooming before our eyes. New blooms and leaves seem to appear overnight – you can really feel the movement in the air – beautiful photos.

  8. May 4, 2014 10:53 pm

    Yes these past few weeks have been magical, even here in the city. Your photographs are very beautiful, I feel like I’m right there! Thank you.

  9. May 5, 2014 12:24 am

    Looking at these beautiful pictures is making me think this next week is going to be unbearable! Only a week to go before I can see this Scottish spring for myself! Thanks for the lovely images!

  10. May 6, 2014 4:49 pm

    Such glorious images of quite the most beautiful time of the year. Here too I’m revelling in the lushness and abundance of new growth, quite a contrast to the austerity of the far north.

  11. March 25, 2015 11:37 am

    Hello Dancing Beastie,
    How might I go about contacting you privately? I was unable to find an e-mail address anywhere on your site. I would appreciate it greatly if you contacted me here or at
    Thanks so much!
    All the best,

    • March 25, 2015 10:08 pm

      Hello Carolyn, I have sent you an email – let me know here if it doesn’t arrive! Thanks.


  1. The return of green | Dancing Beastie

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