After the bluebells: the woods at midsummer
I’m not sure where the past month has gone. Oh dear, why does midsummer always take me by surprise? One moment I am bumbling along thinking, ‘Ooh, the year is starting to get rolling now, isn’t it, we’re into May already, I suppose that’s Spring well under way.’ The next moment, ‘Aaghh! The year is HALF WAY THROUGH!’ Anyway, here we are, only a few days from being able to observe sagely that the nights are drawing in again. I suppose it’s time I got going on my 2014 to-do list.
Out in the woods, meanwhile (the weather is far too nice this week to be wasted on ticking off to-do lists) I noticed with a start today that the season has changed while I wasn’t looking. Those heavenly bluebells have all gone now, leaving a forest of seed heads instead.
The edges of the woods have become a thicket of nettles and sticky goose-grass, almost smothering the many other plants growing vigourously there.
The meadow between the wood and the river ripples in the warm breeze, lush with long grasses.
And in the hollow horse chestnut – still the first tree in the wood to come into leaf every spring, despite its scooped out interior – a pair of crows have raised three young. I’ve often thought that this hollow would make a wonderful home for some creature or other; but I only realised it was in use at last when, as I was walking past it not so long ago, the tree croaked at me.
Peering cautiously inside, wary of being pecked on the nose, I spied three yellow mouths wide open in the gloom, squawking for food. A week later, the young were fledged and ready to go. The last one flew the nest a couple of days ago, to join the noisy mob who hang out in the big lime tree at the edge of the cow pasture. I wonder if the same family will return to the hollow horse chestnut next year.
Before I go, I should explain that I do have an excuse for having ‘lost’ a month, and for my woefully sparse blog posts this year. After a rather trying few months, I have recently been diagnosed with M.E. It seems that this can be triggered by head trauma, which my doctor is sure is the case for me. Anyway, what it means is that, for the present, my walks are rather fewer and shorter than of old, and my head is and has been rather fuzzy and lacking in inspiration and concentration for writing (or indeed for much else). However, I am in pretty good heart and am hopeful that it won’t get much worse before it gets better. Now, where’s that to-do list…
From the days when I had a pre-schooler at home, you might enjoy Midsummer’s treasures.