Home-Thoughts, From Abroad
‘Oh to be in England
Now that April’s there
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
White the Chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
in England – now!’
And after April, when May follows…’
Robert Browning – 1812 – 1899
To read the rest of the poem, click here.
Browning wrote this poem as a homesick traveller longing for memories of home. I remember how much I missed the seasons when I lived in California and this reminds me to never take for granted where you live.
I longed to feast my eyes on the English countryside (which is not to say I wasn’t in awe of the majesty of the wild beauty of California, far from it) but for me to be able to take a walk through the woods on an English spring day when the breeze is warm, clouds gather overhead warning of impending rain, yet hold off for a few hours and the trees whisper amongst themselves as they conspire with the birds, is a gift I readily accept.
How perfect then that the theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Spring!’ I had plans to post some flower photos on Friday but they went pear-shaped (my plans, not the flowers).
Getting ready for a long weekend and having my boy home for three days had me bashing elbows with my fellow grocery shoppers, which is the price I paid for leaving it so late. Still, it’s all worth it isn’t it?
So back to ‘Spring!’. The challenge asks:
‘Share a photo which describes what spring means to you’.
In this case I would have to say that spring means a wood full of bluebells, and I’m so happy that we were able to get a walk in this weekend to see them before they disappear.
There is just the place, Duncliffe Wood, which lies a few miles west of Shaftesbury in Dorset and which is managed by The Woodland Trust. The Trust’s vision, as taken from their website is :
‘A UK rich in woods and trees, enjoyed and valued by everyone.’
A personal note here: My dear Granny, who lived to be 94, has three trees grown in her honour as donated by the family to The Woodland Trust. They keep a catalogue of all the trees planted and grown in memoriam of loved ones, so the Trust has a special place in my heart.
I always think of my Granny in an extra-special way every time I take a walk through these woods…
Duncliffe Wood then, is old! It’s mentioned in The Domesday Book of 1086 and contains ancient lime trees, some between 600 and 1,000 years old. Another little snippet of history for you history lovers out there! (Source credit: Wikipedia)
The Trust seems to have created a specific trail for young families with signs along the way showing how to recognise certain flora and wildlife.
Here is an example:
Notice the middle sign is asking for volunteers to help with Owl Box Monitoring Training! Sounds fascinating don’t you think?
Along the way, a delightful hideaway. Looks like the kind of den we built as kids down the lane where we once lived. We spent hours playing inside it. Them were the days, eh?
Now for the bluebells:
This is what Spring means to me, as I walked through the woods:
Rustling waves of wood-green
Among the throng, yet unseen
of birds trilling on the wind
To usher in May-time’s scene.
As heaven’s-blue cast on the swell
of damp, soft earth and does compel;
So write I must and burst with joy!
Caught up in rapture of God’s Bluebell.
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014
Photos taken with my phone (Android) because I forgot my camera…
More flower photos tomorrow, the ones I had planned for Friday! I’m also winding my way to you all, slowly. Happy Spring Day my friends 🙂