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.

Down in the poo!

One of the things about walking the lane the awareness that humans are not the only inhabitants of the area. So, I usually keep an eye open for any unusual poo. Today there were deer droppings. I saw a deer on the path back in March but haven’t seen one since. Further up the lane there was what looked liked pine marten poo. I keep hoping to meet one. I know they do visit the area and are very accomplished bin thieves. The only time I was up close and personal to one was when we were camping. I heard a noise in the middle of the night, a munching sound, opened the screen to see a furry body passing by my head. A pine marten eating our dog’s food.

The heat has returned and the scent of elder flower, honeysuckle and meadowsweet is swirling around on the air. Butterflies weave across each other’s paths in the sunlight but they never alight on anything long enough for me to try to identify their colourful wings.

It amazes me how resilient the Herb Robert flowers are. Their small pink shapes stand out among the green and yellows of the dry grass. They also make beautiful colour combinations with the blackberry flowers. The blackberries/brambles flowers are beginning to develop into berry form already and it looks as though there will be a good harvest. I found the first hazelnut today, just in its early stages. I wonder how many will have nuts in the shells or will be empty


Trying not to fly too close to the sun

Walking up the lane – which is walking up the hill, feels like a Herculean task in the heat. Reaching the top there is a a gentle breeze, a friendly welcome in the green.

As I walk, birds flutter out of trees and bushes. Their flight paths very low. Almost as though they think they may burn their wings in this red hot sun. Perhaps there is a folk memory among birds of the myth of the wren burning its feathers as it brought fire back from the gods.

The sheep in the woods at the top of the hill are trying to keep cool and baaaa their comments to any passer by. I think of dogs in hot cars and wonder what it is like to be a sheep even if not wearing a full winter coat.

The moss on the lane that leads one up the centre of the lane is no longer green and moist but dry as tinder and crackles underfoot. One poor thistle has bent right over in the heat!

Short while ago there were reeds and rushes in the fields. Now they’ve been cut and are dry and baking in the  heat. The stream has a deeper, hollow voice as it flows over the ancient stone steps that help the stream on its way down the hill.

There are still small things to observe in the green – a speckled wood butterfly resting on a sunny leaf and what I think is a shield bug, probably a hawthorn shield bug  – on a hawthorn. The wood avens is now all burr and no flower and the woundwort flowers are showing off the detail of their individual flowers.