Comings and goings

such a good year for primroses

A few days have made such a difference to the countryside. Walking Washpond Lane yesterday, all the signs of nature catching up after such a cold start to Spring are there, simply bursting out with what reads as a collective and expressive sigh of relief.

How quickly the delicate violets are buried and the wood anemones will be a short-lived carpet of white this year. Instead there are different sights, in hedgerow and bank and more distant across the meadows as the daisies cover a field near Godlingston; the white-blossomed cherries are already out in the cemetery, and the pink-flowered not far behind.

Webs of voracious caterpillars warn a hawthorn hedge that it will lose its leaves as fast as it grows them, as noisy wrens announce their presence and are gone, and blackbirds ferret about in the leaf litter underneath. They don’t mind me being there, and neither does that blue tit sitting higher still, but, at the same time, I remember a lovely a line from the Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis from her collection Chaotic Angels:

"Look back and from the place we were/ a bird calls out because we’re not there."

She reflects on absence so thoughtfully:

"...... It takes a humble man to know/ gaps matter more in a wall than stone,/ making a window on what’s really there./ A view, some people. Nothing. Air."

Life is about and all around us. Helen was tying up sweet peas and protecting tender broad bean and pea shoots from the pigeons, when I got back from wandering down that pretty lane between the school and a meeting. But, the striking blossom in the rectory garden is not the emerging damson, it remains the primroses. They have been long-lasting, and are still covering the beds and grass in lemon yellow; better than ever now - and they have flowered since February.

Wandering down to St Mary’s, the seagulls making a racket on the tower and a mess on the path, the APCM was through in three-quarters of an hour last night; offices filled; finance reported; people thanked; others remembered. Life flows from day to day, hour to hour, and Gwyneth Lewis is so right: the spaces matter; the absences too.

Lest we forget; lest we forget…

John Mann