Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Spring tripped


UNDERNEATH our feet and underneath our eyelids and underneath the dead leaves of last year something has been happening. It came tentatively at first: shyly stepping in, still wrapped in a cloudwool scarf that it might still need. And at its knock, we got up out of our deadwood armchairs and stretched our stiffened arms in the sun.


Morning walks amongst the trees have breathed warm green into us. And the birds have sung us their heart-bursting songs of New. Always always at the turning of a new season I am reminded of all the others I have lived through. Glimpses like scents of previous Springs float past, and I am thrilled by the trilling of the birds who are glad and agree in my bones that things are warming.


There was a point near Spring's beginning, though, when the year's wheel hesitated; it got stuck in a rut in the road. The eager early blooming flowers were surprised by late frosts - we saw ice-edged daffodils hanging their heads in sheepish dismay. The first bursts of our own new-found energy for work and ventures got blocked too in the juddering starting of the engine of the year, and wilted like frost-bitten petals, bloomed-too-soon.

Even down in the water on the common there was a hiccup where day by day as we walked by we'd watched the black specks in their frogspawn jelly morph gradually into tadpoles. When the late cold came the water froze over and trapped within its icy crust a good many little swimmers who had been wriggling trustingly toward froghood, now halted forever in their growing.


I broke the ice for them: a cold photographic slide depicting their frozen moment of death - never-to-be-frogs encased in a beautiful snapshot of air bubbles and green green pondweed.
There was even still some unhatched frogspawn, which had been iced too, but underneath the ice their brothers swam on.


Not until I got home and opened up these photographs did I notice their little brown mouths and pinprick eyes and minuscule handlike frondlike gills, which in time they will reabsorb along with their tails, and hop out of the water in their new amphibious costumes. For now, the water is a mass of brown wriggling.

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When the days were still grey, we went out to Wistman's Wood again, and sat amongst the elphame trees and green rocks there, stunned as I think I always will be in that place, by its beautiful strangeness. As we were about to leave, we glimpsed wild Dartmoor ponies at the top edge of the woods.


They were not scared as we approached, and continued to nibble (moss perhaps) from the tips of the branches. Dartmoor's umbers and greys and mosses made a wild and quiet backdrop for their chestnuts and whites and coppers. And dappled on the hill they gently walked and chewed as the valley stretched on below them and we went home.


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But after a false start, Spring returned in earnest a few weeks ago. The days lately have been celebrations of sunshine and even pigeons sing in the mornings now. We have walked in the trees where the light paints the moss on their trunks brighter than it has been for nearly a year.


I stand with the sun on my back and the young trees stretch up with purpose and hum in that light which could only come through the branches in March. As we walk through the trees, it is warm enough to stop, and to sit amongst them listening to their hopes for the day and the sound of a slight smile in their voices.


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Everywhere is bursting out: shoots and buds and openings occupy all quarters. New growth emerges from the elbow in a thorny stem; trees send forth their green spears; new buds grow on branches where old leaves still cling.


Through the dead carpet green bursts regardless. Here at this still moment we see life turning; we see life-in-death and know also that Death is always there, hands held in the merry dance with Life, skipping in a circle underneath our every moment.

A dead fox appears on our path one morning, mysteriously flung there by the roots of a tree, no sign of a fight, perhaps a bullet hole in amongst its still beautiful fur.


And days later Tom discovers a whole cow rotted to bones. We return that evening with rucksacks to collect, and marvel at the heavy bulk of the pelvis and the great skull full of herbivore's teeth. The vertebrae make a ladder in the grass, the tail tip is a witch's finger and the leg bones weigh heavy as a log.


How long this cow has been here, we don't know. The lower jawbone is elusive, and the other bones are scattered wide. We ponder the cow's demise whilst imagining the bones hung in the trees as eerie wind-chimes for the evening.


And then the celandines begin singing, awake and happy and holding dew on their yellow tongues. The waysides are stirring green again: a wild larder and my favourite of all gardens.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All through this Spring, we've dreamt and worked and laughed and walked. There was a House-that-Wasn't and a House-that-Will-Be. There has been sky gazing and hound running and vegetable dreaming and equinox celebrating. But that is all I'll say for now...


Branches against dusk skies made a labyrinth of fingers, filigree as the blood vessels on the back of your eye, and the clock on the churchtower chimes now over daffodils as yellow as bright as the promised sun, and yellow as the tune on my lips.

50 comments:

Coyopa said...

It's a miracle and a marvel, for sure.
And so are you.

An extra-splendid post, dear Rima - bless the Spring and bless you too.

X

Basht said...

and here the world is still sleeping, covered ina very tall blanket of glittering white snow.

mythopolis said...

Wonderful reflections and photos. I have read there are certain wood frogs that can be frozen solid in winter, and thaw out when things warm up....don't know if its true of their eggs, however.

gz said...

Thankyou for your Spring words.
Thankyou for showing us the sights you saw on your walks.

Today's rain changed everything in an instant, even the first sprinkling.

On a practical point, how do you get the Etsy square on your blog!?!

Heather said...

A wonderful array of stunning pictures to celebrate the coming of Spring. I love the filigree tree branches and moss covered rocks. Dartmoor is a magical place and thankyou for sharing it with us.

Ms. said...

Gasping still, from the stunning beauty of the place, from the tenderness and acute vision of our words, and from the exquisite photographs. My heart is still resonating with concern for the frozen tadpoles, thrilling to the sight of wriggling life and, pulsing with a wild delight from the image of those ponies on the hill, and that dear red fox. how glad i am to have this post today>

EMP said...

Rima,

Happy spring to you and yours! Here in Alberta, spring remains for the most part hidden beneath winter's relentless mantle of white; today, however, shortly before I read your cheery post, the vast blue prairie skies were bright with sunshine again! Oh, joy.

Blessings as you create, and write, and live and move and have your being. I look forward to each new chapter from your Hermitage to ours. EMP in Canada

Alice ~ writer, crafter, boater said...

There is no better way to feel filled to the brim with joy than at the start of Spring... and my oh my how lucky you are to live near those beautiful ponies :-)

Marilyn said...

Thank you for sharing your world waking to spring. So very very beautiful. Here summer has gone leaving only a shadow of her warmth and autumn is turning our trees to gold; beautiful huge fungi are appearing under trees. We have the dance of the seasons but the moon - my moon, your moon - is part of both worlds and looks down on your spring and my autumn all in 24 hours.

Mollamari said...

Oh spring oh lovely sweet spring, how I wait for you to come!

Aaron-Paul said...

Your spoken word is sooooo imaginative , A teller of natures stories you certainly are . Beautiful words & stunning pictures ,thankyou :-)

Sarah said...

I loved your Spring words and pictures. The fox is beautiful, the cow skeleton too. Poor little frozen tadpoles. I want to get out in the woods too!

Shelley Noble said...

Always amazing, always poetic. Loving your way with words.

Pattie Wall said...

Lovely Rima - you live in such enchanted surroundings. How utterly stimulating it must be!

Flower said...

I love the peeks into your woodland journeys...xo

Valerianna said...

Lots of magic... and a moment of catching my breath with the first shot of the wild ponies through the tangle of branches, and the photo of your shadow cast on the ground before the trees felt so like one of your paintings to me. Not sure why, but it does. Maybe a bit of distortion and the bare branch beauty?

Cymru said...

Rima, your evocation of Spring's offerings sends pleasant shudders down my spine. I am so grateful that you have brought us all along on your walks through the hills and the woods, and showing us that there can be a beauty in death as well as life.

Rochelle Bee. said...

Breathtaking. Simply. I would be so tempted to pick up that fox and hold it even though it's dead. Poor thing. Such gorgeous creatures.

Velma said...

oh, the ponies, it's (early) spring and i want to ride! i remember before a photo of you in a field amongst horses, relaxing, prone, together, or did i create that picture in my imagination?

A mermaid in the attic said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I can almost smell Spring! And yet here I am waiting, waiting, waiting still for Autumn to show herself, waiting for new green shoots too!

Graceful Moments said...

Thank you so much, dear Rima, for taking us on this little journey and allowing us to peek into your world. What a beautiful world it is. A bit sad about the beautiful fox though. Such beautiful animals. Happy Spring to you and Tom. Blessings to you both.

Lecte said...

The places you tell of are so beautiful it hurts. It must be a blessing to live among such rich colours an textures, among the nature so luxurious.
Thank you for this glimpse of Spring!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful post, all those signs of Spring!

pRiyA said...

You live in a beautiful green moist and fertile world. I am riveted by the pictures. Thank you for the update on the frog spawn too :-)

Lynn said...

So much beauty. Thank you.

Snippety Giblets said...

Great pictures as always :0) I love frogs and think tadpoles' mouths one of the dearest things ever lol. Lots of pics of the tiny froggies in due course, please !

Really envy you the cow bones too. We have a skull minus a lower jaw, and a couple of sheep skulls, but I should like some leg bones too :0)

steven said...

rima it's magic to walk alongside a person so filled with openness and availability to the newly unveiled world of springtime. steven

Kit and Kaboodle said...

Beautiful as always; without fail, your blog entries make me think and wonder at the beauty of a world we often take for granted. Thank you for offering up that gift to us all.

Kate :-)

corvus said...

Magic,magic,magical blog. What a gift you give us, full of the wonder of nature...thank you

Laini said...

Wonderful words as always!

WOL said...

Spring has caught hold here too. My roses are all leafed out and my red climbers have ventured a few blooms. My little yellow bearded iris are blooming -- the first round in a salvo of color from my iris denizens, I hope. The day lillies are all green and my miniature yellow rose bush is leafing out, too. Will I be able to get out into the yard Friday? We'll see.

Laurie said...

Oh, to see Wistman's Wood again - lovely. And the fox and the cow bones and . . . the poor tadpoles. I haven't had the chance to visit for a while, but it has been worth coming back. Thank you!

Jessie said...

How wonderful to be within the arms of nature like that! It was lovely to meet you on saturday Rima. :)I took some of my own photos of Dartmoor but I knew they wouldn't match up to the ones you do so well! Gorgeous pictures and amzing ones of the tadpoles. I haven't seen tadpoles for years you know! Jess xx

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kijjet said...

I couldn't stop reading this post. I hung on to your every word. You are an amazing writer and I gobbled up every word and image! Also where ever you live is beautiful! :)

Alette Siri Ane said...

Lovely Spring in your world.I can smell it ,and a gift of horses too!I have fled from snow avalanches that trapped us in on both sides this year.Sometimes nature goes a bit farther ,and takes a bit of thought befor I can follow.

Angela Bell said...

Lovely ,inspiring post as usual.I have a chest infection and have just got out of bed to check my e mails so it was really uplifting to read.When I am better Iam off for a long walk on the beach !

jess said...

I don't know what I feel more: *dying* to see all these places with my own eyes, or driven to find this same beauty here. Although we did just have 6" of snow dropped on us today...

Terri Windling said...

Another beautiful post, Rima, turning everything around you into magic, as always.

Tina said...

Beautiful pictures! Especially on the trees and on the Dartmoor.

Sweet Harvest Moon said...

Thank you for this, beautiful pictures!

Della said...

A fascinating look at death and life and rebirth, I hung on to every word and image... best wishes and new beginnings to you this springtime, Rima.

rossichka said...

What a praise of Spring's glory! You depict its marvels in the most enchanting way, Rima! I have missed a lot from your blog, but I'm trying to read everything... It's not that simple for me... I need more free time to spend alone with your posts, to enjoy them ,catch all the nuances of your and my emotions, ponder and look inside me... But I'm busy again! Tomorrow I'm starting on a short journey (rehearsals in another town), but I promise to write you, when I come back! Have a lovely week, full of inspiration and... miracles!:)

Karan said...

Beautiful images! I love the daffodils! (And incidentally took an almost identical photo in Churchstow: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/karan/10319427/in/album/229687)

Spring is so delicate and yet so swift. These days one can literally see the gras grow. Oh, I wish I could walk in the Devon hills now - they must be covered in soft green... and the hawthorn leaves surely have come out, too.

Mab said...

I'm amazed with the effect which your art has had on my way to see the world around me.... Thanks for that. Be safe and well.

Mouse said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and images. I hope I get to look a wild pony in the eye someday.

treevoice said...

This may well be the most beautiful collections of pictures I've ever seen. Your eye for the awe-inspiring in nature is wonderful. :)

Donna said...

Rima, every time I look at your photographs I feel as thought I have gone back in time and stepped into the most glorious fairy tale. Is it truly as magical as it seems? I am in awe of the beauty you capture with your camera. Loved the wild ponies. I hope the spring and summer seasons treat you very well... Donna

Erica-Jane said...

Dear Rima,
It's been a long time since I last blogged....I am back, and hope you will visit me soon xxxx

Suomi said...

You got the best post here,,stunning beauty of nature i have nothing to say but beautiful.