2 Jun 2010

Spring – full of optimism

Alternative title: gratuitous opportunity to post some photos I took at the weekend.

I love this time of year. I love autumn too. But I find spring to be inspiring and energising and it fills you with a mood of optimism.

Please click on any of the photographs to see a larger view, they tend to look rather dark here on the page.

The earth, awoken by lengthening days and increasing temperatures, puts forth new life at an alarming rate. The world around us positively explodes with new growth, in a green the most vibrant we will see all year. It’s never quite as fabulous as it is when spring gravitates towards summer.

Ferns and brackens unravel themselves like something other-worldly.

I love the things that grow at this time of year, I love the climate and I love that sense of promise of longer days and warm evenings watering the garden. I love that I can work outside or at least with the door open. I love being able to get my washing out on the line and to eating breakfast in the garden. I love opening the curtains in a morning to sunshine and bird song.

Although I don’t much like warm weather, which is why I think I’m most happy and comfortable in spring and autumn, the temperatures suit me rather better.

Tiny delicate Speedwells emerge through the leaf litter in woodland. There seemed to be two different species growing beside each other. One a vibrant violet blue and the others had a smaller mauve flower with more distinct stripes. Both are gorgeous.

I love to look at the little things that emerge from the earth, before they are dominated by longer grass and stronger plants. Those delicate little flowers that have adapted to emerge first, to fulfill their cycle before their dominating earth-mates overshadow them.

We just spent the bank holiday weekend in the Lake District. To me, getting away and walking through woodland particularly, is an absolutely vital way I must spend time periodically. I just don’t think I could survive life’s demands without communing closely with trees every week or two. It’s an activity that takes a high priority in my planning and for the scant money we have available. Some people like to eat in restaurants or go to bars – to me, there is no restaurant in the world that I would enjoy as much as eating bread and cheese under trees. It’s a bonus when it’s not actually raining.

One particular favourite path we walk often takes us past this massive beech tree – it’s stunning, in different ways, at different times of the year. This weekend it was just coming into full foliage – bright glossy green leaves at their peak of perfection, before being ravaged by weather and insects. It is slightly raised from the road, so that you initially view its roots at eye level and due to its commanding size, has a large clear area around it, strewn with mossy rocks.

At least, that’s how it looks at first glance. But the bare-looking ground beneath, is in anything but. On closer inspection, it is a positive cornucopia of emerging growth and subtle variety. There must be dozens of species of plant growing in that particular environment of cool and shade beneath its protective spread. There are a multitude of tiny beech trees that have germinated from its own masts, even some small bright green new pine trees, violets, digitalis, mosses and grasses. The photograph below represents about a square meter of ground from the bottom left corner of the wider shot above. I am sure to return many times this year, so will be interested to repeat this process and record how that little patch develops.

I’ve prepared this photo rather larger than usual and sharpened it quite hard so that you can see the detail. Please click to see the large version.

And you couldn’t possibly consider the beauty of spring without mentioning bluebells. I have more bluebell photos to come, from another camera, but for now, these are two ways I love to see bluebells, in a fabulous fragrant carpet over moorland, these from an area above Coniston that I must check the map to get the correct name for. They looked mauve looking upwards and more blue when viewed from above looking down the hill – must be the way the light spectrum was reflected from the petals.

And I love to see them like this too – just dotted amongst emerging woodland growth, at the base of trees and amongst fallen timber – more subtle and delicate – but perhaps their colour is all the more highlighted and vibrant because of it.

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