Friday, 7 June 2013

The why of wildflowers

It's not often a news report makes me smile, usually they just give me something else to fear. But when I saw this tiny little piece on meadows and the 'Coronation campaign' to restore them across the country, it reminded me how lucky I am to have such a gorgeous field full of wild flowers just a short walk away. There are two times of year, every year, that genuinely make me excited, happy with anticipation of good things to come... the first is when the bluebells deep down in Coburnhill woods suddenly appear. It takes my breath away how they arrive in mass, stretching back in between the tall, dark contrasting trees as far as you can see. If you squint your eyes the vast area of deep blue blurs into one, and it looks like water, as if the bluebells just flooded in overnight.

Secondly, it's the meadow. The orchard is a recent addition to Lotherton Hall, but has become one of the main backdrops in my day to day life as every morning and every evening I walk the dogs through this beautiful field. Between the fresh, young apple trees the grass is left to grow long and the tips go purple. Then the flowers gradually spring up all around, bright and shiny like they've been dipped in melted butter. I love watching the dogs bounding through the grass, and little Ruby springs up like a baby springbok, poofs of pollen firing up behind her.

The above photo just instantly voices in my head the quote from Wuthering Heights: "Catherine’s face was just like the landscape—shadows and sunshine flitting over it in rapid succession"

The smell is powerfully sweet and the pollen makes the air thick but simultaneously fresh. When I was a little kid, I'd love to lie down in the grass and it would tower right over my head and all you could see was grass tickling the sky and it felt like no one could find you. Whenever I ran away from home, like little kids do, I'd hide in the grass and absolutely nothing else existed.

There's a link to the BBC news report here.

It upsets me that some people object to the scheme of transforming open space into meadows, their argument being that the land should be used to create something with a purpose. If everything in life had to have a purpose or function, yes perhaps we'd be a more advanced and efficient species, but we wouldn't be human. It's the little 'useless' thing in life such as wildflowers that might not give us a how to live, but they give us a why.

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