I was walking slowly so as not to miss anything.
It’s that crazy April time of year when it’s sunshine one minute, raining the next, heat of the summer one week, wildly followed on by snow falls and hail the next, and the earth is growing fiercely in response, fast, subversive, throwing up plants in the hedgerows, and I didn’t want to miss a trick.
Still, I didn’t see it the first time.
It was only on the way back home that the pattern caught my eye, something of the purple, something of the arching, drooping flower, something of the graceful hint of flowering to come that made me bend down, hunker down, okay, lie down by the roadside, watch and notice.
(Don’t worry, it is a very quiet road, with almost no passers by to watch my antics. Cars are few and far between, and so I can hear them a long way off, and shuffle into the undergrowth if needs be.)
I looked and thought: oh! I know you! I have surely, somewhere, seen you before.
And even though there is still doubt mixed in and muttering (what do you know about plants, you don’t know the names of the flowers, who are you to talk of flower love) there is another, stronger voice that is saying yes, yes, yes, I remember you, you plant of drooping, arching purple, still so low down by the ground at this early point in the year that it’s only by lying down I can see you, but yes, I am sure, I know you.
I have seen you before.
And my heart leaps in response to a different kind of gratitude and a different kind of seeing.
Not just the delight of that seeing for the first time, but the joy of seeing in the second year, of walking down these same quiet roads, these same paths by the river, these same shady places in the wood and remembering what came before, what emerged in April, May, June, a festival of flowers that ran throughout the year, and my delight is mixed with anticipation, of the festival that’s coming, and remembrance, at what has gone before.
It is a heady mix.
It is taken me a long time, and a lot of meandering and moving, to get to this point in my life when I can step out from the door and walk, just walk, when I can walk along by the hedgerows and start to know them, to recognise them, to see flowers and plants emerging and feel the delight at seeing an old friend, to feel the pleasure of seeing the wheel turning, slowly, inexorably, through the days of the second year.
Yes, it is a heady mix, and I am deeply grateful, and I will do all I can to keep sharing what I see, and hear, and feel, as I walk, and look, in the wonder of the second year.