Finding calm amid the chaos

Early morning started with a sky of pale watercolour wash blue but with sun beginning to break through.  A morning of promise. A pigeon cooed in the trees, a lone voice  in the wood. The mornings are starting earlier and I haven’t heard the fox bark for a few nights now but the moon is no longer as bright.

 It is the cyclical aspect of nature that gives me a degree of calm. The mill stream continues to run and the dog violets are packing the hedgerows. Walking Rosie up the hill the lane is brightly lit by the lesser celandine and primroses, all their flowers reaching towards the sunlight. Everything seems more manageable when the sun is out.

Almost overlooked are the bright yellow flowers of coltsfoot, part of the daisy family. Their strange scaly looking stems make them unusual; their other name is ‘son before father’ because the flowers come out before the leaves.  Traditionally the plant was used for respiratory problems and coughs!

Sometimes all it takes!

The rain has stopped.. for the moment and the wind though still stormy, is not as cold

but the accumulation of rain over the last week or so has filled the mill pond – or what I think is the old mill pond, something not usually seen unless there has been torrential rain.

Sometimes all it takes is a brightness, something dazzling – in this case, a bright red leaf to bring joy.  It reminds me that not just in nature but in the human world there are people who stand out – for the good reasons. They don’t have to be well known or powerful, in fact better that they are not,  but they make a difference. so a tiny red leaf is mesmerisingly beautiful on an early March morning.

Then, the sun ventures out for a short while, the violets try to climb the hedgerow to keep their roots out of the water and the birds respond with song. Rosie searches for new scents and an exquisite bud just presents itself to be photographed! The scent of fox wafts in the air and I am reminded that there are still the wild creatures out there, not everything has been destroyed – yet. And the trees that take the barbed wire that has been stretched across them for many years, pulling and cutting their bark, grow with elegance and gentleness. I’m just not sure I’m so forgiving.

Meanwhile at home, George, the cat, incubates the chitting potatoes.

Brightness in the dark winter days

After snowdrops now a lesser celandine – a little ragged and the only to be seen on the lane at the moment. Bright colours which lessen the darkness of winter mornings. Hazel catkins hanging in glorious mustard yellow tails against the darker greens of the woods and a thistle holding as much dew as it can in its open leaves. A bright start to January.

Hip Hip Wasp

Early morning and a blackbird sits on the ivy covered branch. There are still some blackberries left though they are smaller and less attractive looking when it comes to picking them.

In contrast the hedging of the fields are full of bright red rose hips and some of the smaller elderberry trees have branches weighed down with umbrellas of black and ripe berries.

There are several conversations going on in the mill stream this morning. There is the broader rush and flow moving the water across the wider reaches and down the hill and then there are the low sometimes light notes as the water is moved through moss covered rocks and overhanging branches now dipping into the stream. The stream quietens when it is corralled into the small, still pools before it is pushed, noisily, over the many tiny waterfalls, finally merging in the lower levels close to the main road.

The colours on the lane are changing generally as the glossy greens of the holly and ivy predominate. It is clear that we are moving swiftly towards the returning power of the Holly King.

Spiders’ webs catch on the spikes of the holly leaves like small fairy hammocks. The ivy flowers with their intricate structure are full of nectar – a great source for birds and insects at this time of year as can be seen with the wasp.

I know wasps get a bad press and they can be aggressive but they also hunt flies, aphids and caterpillars – all of which I want away from the garden.

While the greens are deep and glossy there are also the subtle, almost ‘unnatural’ colours of magenta on leaves and the bleached white creams. Occasionally there are beautiful combinations on leaves which seem to mimic exotic butterflies. It is all in an Autumn day.

Worlds of time

I saw the first ripe blackberries today. Most are still in various stages of green and red yet but there will be increasing numbers of blackberries now. The white and red forms of the rosa rugosa are flowering again close to the old mill further up the lane and the spindly legged, delicate toadstools are showing themselves in the damp grass.

Greater plantain with the other name of rat’s tail plantain is thriving close to the field gate entrances. Horsetail, that ancient weed, nearby. Cabbage white butterflies are still fluttering over the fields and hedgerows in a rather drunken and haphazard way while thistledown has begun to disperse from the thistles,  carried gently by the breeze, and , weighted down by it seeds, parachuting to safe landings among the grasses.

One section of  moss covered stone wall looks just like a face. The ‘eyes’ and  ‘mouth’ are obviously holes that are homes for small animals.  Homes and hollows are everywhere. There is one under a tree which has a tunnel. All particularly visible in this dry weather. I feel sometimes as though I should be  Alice in Wonderland, down the rabbit hole.  I could find out so much about these secret places!

Waiting for Rosie to sniff one of her favourite spots I noticed a snail slowly making its way up a stalk. There are so many different aspects of time and space. Each inhabitant of the lane has a different world, a different timescale.

What I think is wild angelica is producing tall flowerhead closer to the bottom of the lane and to the mill stream. It is very eye catching. Another eye-catching element  is a holly sapling half way up the lane, surrounded by hazel and ash. While the other trees bend and lean around and against each other, this holly stands absolutely straight guarding its side of the stream.

Mullycovet Lane

The rain, thunder and lightning has stopped. It has left a freshness in the air and blue sky and fluffy white clouds have begun to reappear. The cattle in the field are not sure what to make of a human who wanders around photographing things! The white roses in the hedge are really bright amongst the green and the leaves of the various plants in the hedgerow look even more vibrant.