Word & the wild
Storytelling and simple living
The year in books | Shirley
The year in books | The Invention of Angela Carter
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The cuckoo flowers are up and with them, the orange tips. This was meadowland once, before we called it a garden. We grow things wilder now and the plants remember. The flowers come back and so do the butterflies.
Within walking distance there’s a lane with an old farm on one side and a hedgerow and bank on the other. It’s the home of someone who looks like he has spent a lifetime outdoors. A weathered face under a threadbare hat and a repeating whistle. One winter day he was inspecting the hedge closely. “They’re almost out” he said quietly. “Snowdrops.” Now on January days I look for them there too.
It starts with the blackthorn. Out in the hedge before leaves, before even a hint of green. Bare, thorny scrub wearing nothing but stars.
I used to see nettles as untidy, ugly and slightly sinister weeds. Now I see tasty spring greens, useful to use instead of spinach. I see wildlife homes for the small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies. I see an abundant, ignored kind of beauty. I know that weed is just another word for wild, and has been all along. 🌿🙌🏻
It’s easy to forget, on sunny spring days, that winter is waiting in dark and frozen corners. Each time you think, ‘will this be the last time, the last frost of spring?’
One dark, drizzly day back in January, I crouched under a hedge to find these tiny rain soaked stems. Snowdrops breaking winter ground, the first of the spring-bringers.
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