Yesterday morning, wrapped like it was mid-Winter (the temperature is ten degrees colder today), I replanted all this winter's hyacinths. I always fill the house with bowls of pink, blue and white hyacinths because I love the smell and I love their way of never letting you down. They always flower on time and produce a lovely show. But one flowering in this forcing situation and they have done their best. But it always seems a shame to throw them on the compost heap, so I put them into the garden - into the bottom of the hedge with the primroses and the cowslips.
They flower again for a few years, but what happen is they flower like their wild brothers and sisters - they revert back to becoming little more than blue bells. Nothing wrong with that - they retain their brilliant colours and look really pretty.
When I came indoors I spent half an hour looking up hyacinths and finding out a bit about their name. This is what I found. In mythology, Hyacinthus was a handsome youth much-loved by Apollo. He was killed by a jealous Zephyrus, who diverted a discus to hit him. As he lay dying on the ground the hyacinth sprang from his blood. A three day festival was thereafter held in his honour at Sparta. And the petals of the hyacinth are marked with AI, AI - the sound of grief. The wild bluebells don't have this mark. Next year I shall look carefully at the petals!
I then found that Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about bluebells in one of his poems - about the sound that they make when they grow in such profusion in our native woodlands. He says that they rub together in the breeze, "making a brittle rub and jostle, like the noise of a hurdle, strained by leaning against it." I now need to go to a nearby blue bell wood to listen for that too.
This morning, whilst eating my porridge, I watched a curious ritual between two house sparrows on the hedge, just outside the kitchen window. I can only assume it was a mating ritual - this being the time of year when the birds seem to think of little else. One of the pair held a feather in its beak. They did a bit of dancing about and then the other bird took the feather and repeated the whole process. This went on for some time until somebody walked into the farmyard and they flew away, leaving the feather on top of the hedge.
Someone in this morning's paper says that throughout life one is rushing from pillar to post, working, housekeeping, bringing up children and ferrying them from A to B. It is only when one retires that one has time to look into the little things. Reading the above I say "amen" to that.