Long Days, Spring Days

Thursday was a long day: The end of an enjoyable contract that just kept, wonderfully, extending itself.

Driving home I felt relieved at feeling I have achieved a lot. But also noticing how the world is turning to spring.

Thrush-egg blue skies, still a little fragile, but lighter until much later. It happened – almost – without me noticing. The earth is doing that season-turning thing: as it must and we are now past the equinox (when like some Druidic charm-spell, both light and darkness are, like it says on the can, equal. Half in the shadow, half not.

Now, having read the latest truth in Mark Thompson’s A Spacer Traveller’s Guide to the Universe I realise that what I had believed about the earth taking twenty four hours to spin once on its axis was incorrect. One rotation, I now, rather smugly know, actually takes 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds. This has, essentially been “fudged” by those-in-the-know and the calendar adjusted to accommodate the facts.

(I remind myself gently that change is always going on; that what I believe is fact today may actually change tomorrow … but also remind myself that this is exactly what a fool would be telling himself, and that in this direction lies madness.)

But the hedgerows, most of them cut correctly with regard to providing advantage for nesting birds are battered and tight cut, also have long bright patches of sparkling fresh-leaf hawthorn green: the buds breaking and the tight curled treasures breaking out to begin harvesting all of that extra sunlight. That near-magical mechanism that goes on within deciduous plants is little less than marvellous: biological programming at it most basic and most effective.

In one familiar, often passed by field a fresh cut hedge today looks for all the world like a submarine in one of those Cold War films making an emergency surfacing manoeuvre, to charge batteries, rescue the admiral or release death and destruction – but frozen in mid frame. I had never seen the hedge in this way before though I have walked past it, driven past it, even cut it myself. Strange that new things can occur to us when we least expect them – or don’t expect them at all!

Image result for submarine emergency surface

Beyond the hedges are the latest generation of lambs, or pregnant ewes.. And other fields have been turned over. On this journey, heading north from Tamworth the soil is a characteristic reddish orange, sand based and flat. Nearer to home a field has the whole array of machinery: tractors, plough, harrow, drill and Land Rover. They are processing across the field in a regimented fashion. Agriculture is, and always has been, industry though, usually, this fact is over-looked. In this field it is more than obvious. Big machines, big fields … big business.

Image result for agricultural spring planting


Back at home, when I sit in the back garden with a cup of tea, snacking on leaving present Maltesers (other chocolate snacks are, believe me, available, but will have to wait) I notice the crocuses, wood anemones and timely as ever the snake headed pasque flowers.

Tonight the clocks will – artificially – spring forward.

Then the intensive allotment toil is all to be enjoyed: bean trenches, watering seedlings, planting out chitted potatoes, weeding …

Looking forward to each and every bit of it!


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