Is there anywhere any silence more profound than that in a Spring meadow on a Saturday afternoon, when the sun is shining, the air is still and it is warm? I suppose in the desert, or in a cathedral might give one the same feeling, but I walk down the meadow, drinking in the absolute stillness, broken only by muted bird sounds, and smelling the grass growing. There is no mistaking the smell of growing grass, is there? To anyone with a manicured lawn I suppose it is not a smell they relish, but to a farmer who is wanting to turn his cows out to pasture, there is no better smell in the world at this time of the year. And, make no mistake, the cows smell it too. Our heifers in the loose housing are restless, their noses are working overtime.
The meadow is greening up nicely, as the farmer would say. Here and there a daisy is opening its face to the sun, but everywhere miniature golden shining suns, otherwise called the lesser celandine, shine out, dotting the field with their magic.
On the beck marsh marigolds are now in full bloom and banks of celandine swoop down to the water's edge. Where the beck goes through our little wood, bluebells are just beginning to come into bloom. Tess and I stand looking along the beck from a vantage point behind a holly bush. Coming towards us, chatting aimiably (as befits a newly married couple) as they paddle along, are Mr and Mrs Duck. He is a smart mallard drake in full regalia, she a pure white. I don't know whether they spot us or not. If they do they take no notice of us. He leads her out of the water and they start their walk up the meadow. Have they got a nest in the hedgebottom somewhere?
Curlew are beginning to pair up and visit the fields where in a week or two, when the grass is a bit longer, they will laytheir eggs. And every year we have a pair of noisy oyster catchers; they too are whizzing round and round as we walk - they can't even fly without making their noise.
As we come back along the side of the hedgerow a blackbird pops out every few yards and flies off. This is a favourite hedge for blackie nests and they are obviously hard at it building an impregnable fortress, safe (they hope) from stoats, weasels and magpies.
As we come out into the back garden the farmer is busy raking up the winter twigs, prior to mowing the orchard grass. On one tree - the cherry - the blossom is almost out. When it is in full bloom I shall photograph it so that I can quote that wonderful poem from Housman's Shropshire Lad - "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now..." Further along the garden the rhubarb is beginning to sprout - as I approach it the farmer tells me it will soon be crumble time!
Tess stays in the garden with the farmer, and with the black cat who has joined us. I come in to put this on my blog before the lovely images have faded from my mind. If there is only one day of perfection this Spring, then this is it. Have a good weekend.