In 1906 Edith Holden started a Diary, now known as ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’. In it, she observed Natures cycle through the months of the year, writing simply about the weather, the birds, the flowers and the natural world around her. All the pages are beautifully ornamented with her original artwork and favourite poems. In this Blog, I’m going to try to emulate her Diary in a modern way. For a start, this is a blog on a computer, not pen and ink lovingly written on paper! However, I hope that the end result will have some similarities, in that I want to capture day by day, month by month the steady rhythm of Nature through the year. For although our 21st century lives are hectic, chaotic, noisy and deafened by electronics, the beat of the natural world, which is the backdrop to all our lives whether we notice it or not, remains ever the same. So take a sedate, gentle and steady-paced journey with me through the next year, observing the natural world. Our way of life may have changed almost beyond recognition since 1906, but nature is doing what it always has done, the cycle of nature remains constant and reassuringly predictable. In that respect, nothing has changed. ‘ No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.’ (Hal Borland)

Friday, 29 March 2013

March 29th.

Good Friday.
Walked right up to the top, and along the ridge of the Flood route, where there were some beautiful views across the valleys to Abergavenny and Monmouth, still snow on the hills. It remains very cold and the hedgerows have been slowed in their spring blossoming because of it, the birds too after their initial enthusiasm seem to have gone a little quiet. Plenty of buzzards about, some are pairing off. The buzzards really define this valley I think, they are abundant in the woodlands and their cries which sound a bit like a cat mewing,echo across the valleys below. I love to watch groups of them circling high up in a blue sky on a summers day, and wherever I hear them, in other parts of Britain or abroad, I'm immediately transported back to the Usk valley.

   The Buzzards- Martin Armstrong.

    When evening came and the warm glow grew deeper
    And every tree that bordered the green meadows
    And in the yellow cornfields every reaper
    And every corn-shock stood above their shadows
    Flung eastward from their feet in longer measure,
    Serenely far there swam in the sunny height
    A buzzard and his mate who took their pleasure
    Swirling and poising idly in golden light.
    On great pied motionless moth-wings borne along,
    So effortless and so strong,
    Cutting each other's paths, together they glided,
    Then wheeled asunder till they soared divided
    Two valleys' width (as though it were delight
    To part like this, being sure they could unite
    So swiftly in their empty, free dominion),
    Curved headlong downward, towered up the sunny steep,
    Then, with a sudden lift of the one great pinion,
    Swung proudly to a curve and from its height
    Took half a mile of sunlight in one long sweep.

    And we, so small on the swift immense hillside,
    Stood tranced, until our souls arose uplifted
    On those far-sweeping, wide,
    Strong curves of flight, — swayed up and hugely drifted,
    Were washed, made strong and beautiful in the tide
    Of sun-bathed air. But far beneath, beholden
    Through shining deeps of air, the fields were golden
    And rosy burned the heather where cornfields ended.

    And still those buzzards wheeled, while light withdrew
    Out of the vales and to surging slopes ascended,
    Till the loftiest-flaming summit died to blue

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