CAMPION, Stitchwort, Celandine, Jack-by-the-Hedge, Forget-me-not, Cow Parsley, Vetch, Bluebell, Pink Purslane, Kingcup, Wood Anemone, Yellow Archangel, Cranesbill, Bittercress, Buttercup, Daisy, Ramsons, Primrose, Wild Strawberry. May's Flowering is welcomed in: an incantation of names; at all the margins a bright jostling for the sky.
This time of the year rings like a happy bell in me. The hedgerow calls loud again, painted in bright daubs, scintillating in sun-patches. Flowers turn and wave. The Plant Names say themselves over and over as I learn new ones and my feet go one after the other, and Macha sniffs for scuttering things in the undergrowth.
The light wakes us all up for the long coming days of summer doings and Mother Goose turns a page in her Rhymebook.
To welcome in the May, we meet with our people at the top of a hill to drum up the Beltane Fire.
May comes in fast when it comes. All the sharp new green rushes up around me. I take joy in it, lane-stomping without a coat in the warm green breeze which rustles the oak. And, wanting to while away the lengthening days out in the No-Longer-Winter, I remember all the things I should have been preparing for ages before now!
Every year the summer trails begin in May, with my favourite fair of the season - Weird & Wonderful Wood in Suffolk.
I have been making some little paintings on wood to sell from my stall this year. An odd trio - just two or three inches in diameter, these are painted on pieces of Yew and Beech I got from a furniture maker at last year's fair.
They're colourful, story-full, and a little bit strange.
|The Sleeping Tree|
I also have a new stall sign half-painted, to be completed somehow between now and Friday, in between driving nearly 400 miles! Tomorrow we must pack the van with tents and wares and chattels and set off toward the sunrise. This photo below, by the way, is taken in my new trapdoor-accessed studio space in which I have been spending happy painting days, May sunshine pouring across my drawing board, nesting birds chattering outside the window. I shall tell more of this place anon, as promised.
Further on in summer, there are exhibitions, storytellings, gigs and festivals to fill our days. I shall whet your appetite with this poster for a show I'll be taking part in down here on Dartmoor at Greenhill Arts Gallery in Moretonhampstead with quite an array of talented and renowned artists from England's South West (six of whom are local to this village!) : Alan Lee, Brian & Wendy Froud, Terri Windling, Virginia Lee, David Wyatt, Hazel Brown, Paul Kidby and Neil Wilkinson-Cave.
There'll be some wonderful events running alongside this mythically-themed exhibition, which you can read about on the Green Hill Arts Gallery website. Tom and I will be storytelling, as will the wonderful Martin Shaw of the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, there'll be puppet shows, music, talks, craft workshops, coffee with the artists, and many other wonders. It'll be on for over a month, so do come and see if you're down this way in the summer.
( Widdershins lettering courtesy of me :)
And with that I shall leave you. We have miles to go and much to do before next weekend's fairing. Hoping for sun, good roads, full pockets and interesting byways, we go East...