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)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

April 20th and 21st.

Such a beautiful sunny warm day. Went through the woods, along the river and up along the Usk valley.The woods are now thickly carpeted in Ramsons, filling the air with their green garlic smell. The very understated Lady's Smock or Milk Maids, as I call them are out in bloom, such a pretty delicate flower. The river was quiet, thought I might see the goosanders and ducks but perhaps they have taken to the undergrowth in the banks, and trees to start nesting. The hedges are now starting at last to turn green, but Spring is very late this year it seems.

Went down to the Gwent levels in the morning and on to the reed beds on the wetlands. Quite an overcast and cold day. April is very unpredictable! The reeds were full of the non-stop singing and vocal acrobatics of reed warblers with the occasional loud outburst from cettis warblers, but they were very difficult to spot. Quite a few pairs of nesting swans and canada geese. Spring however I know has truly sprung  as I heard the Cuckoo for the first time and saw it sitting in the branch of a tree, calling in it's lovely mellow (but repetitive) voice for about five minutes. Haven't heard any in the Usk valley yet. 

To The Cuckoo- William Wordsworth.

O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?

While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear,
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
At once far off, and near.

Though babbling only to the Vale,
Of Sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery;

The same whom in my school-boy days
I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.

To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen.

And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.

O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee! 

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