It’s 26th April. We had snow three days three weeks back, and we’ve had sunshine since then, often brilliant sunshine, days on end, and the sky’s been a Siberian blue. But it’s not been enough. Not enough to tempt the blossom to really get going. True, the blackthorn which so brilliantly belies its name has been bursting white for several weeks. Only now is the green peeking through on the lilac and the rowan and the laburnum in the garden. The early beech leaves are that so-perfect lighter shade of green. Oak is poking, reluctant, slow.
And the ash is nowhere to be seen. It’s always late of course. Some branches have a few desultory flowers. But how much will they leaf this spring?
Yes, it’s chill. But I’m enjoying ‘slow’. I want to lock in this April, its blue skies, and long-drawn out sense of promise.
I’m even listening to the news. At 8am and 1pm. And Channel 4 at 7pm. It’s not winding me up as it has through these torrid and foolish Brexit years. April has worked wonders.
Ted Hughes maybe overstates it, but I’ll go with
A soft animal of peace/Has come a million years/With shoulders of pre-dawn and shaggy belly
Has got up from under the glacier/And now lies openly sunning/Huge bones and space-weathered hide.
We’re up on the moors, grazing sheep, lambs maybe, above Calderdale where Yorkshire meets Lancashire. Ted Hughes country. Also my grandfather’s.
Imagine, also, if we could hear as once we did the cocks crowing across the morning:
I stood on a dark summit, among dark summits –/Tidal dawn splitting heaven from earth,/The oyster opening to taste gold.
And I heard the cockcrows kindling in the valley/Under the mist –/They were sleepy,/Bubbling deep in the valley cauldron.
Then one or two tossed clear, like soft rockets/And sank back again dimming.
(Others join in, ‘challenge against challenge’)
Till the whole valley brimmed with cockcrows,/A magical soft mixture boiling over,/Spilling and sparkling into other valleys….
Sadly, not into my valley. But we can imagine…