Alexander Averin

Friday, 30 May 2008

In Praise of Buttercups (and Bluebells)

After the Rain

Dear Diary,

June My whole life Will never get past “June”
June, when my heart died When my poetry died
When my lover
Died in romance’s pool of blood June,
the scorching sun burns open my skin

Revealing the true nature of my wound
the fish swims out of the blood-red sea

Toward another place to hibernate June,
the earth shifts, the rivers fall silent
Piled up letters unable to be delivered to the dead

Translated to English from Chinese by Chip Rolley. Shi Tao. a journalist and the author of this poem was imprisoned by the Chinese Government after forwarding to an overseas website a document from Chinese government censors warning their media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and 2 years’ deprivation of political rights. Although he remains in prison his poem is free and is following the Olympic torch around the world. International PEN, the worldwide writers’ organisation, are campaigning for the release of around 40 writers currently imprisoned in China. Shi Tao is one of them. Please share this poem.

It doesn’t seem like summer but here are a few photos taken in my garden that may convince you that it really is May, well nearly the end of May to be exact. Do you like the buttercups photos? I want to speak up in praise of buttercups but first I will own up to digging up ever so many before I became poorly with this virus. The ones that escaped my fork have flowered in abundance and I have to admit that they are beautiful and their yellow so cheering. So in their honour I have entitled this blog In praise of buttercups. They did have to be thinned out though because, as you know, they would take over if left to their own devices. But is anyone like me, a softie where plants are concerned? Anyone else feel a pang of guilt when they pull weeds?

By the front porch

I also love the bluebells at the moment they are in flower. This is a pic of a wood near here.

Buttercups among the Granny's Bonnets, Columbines, Aquilegiae, call them what you will.

And more

June is beckoning with heady promises of delight to come. Warm evenings, family meals in the garden, late night forays and magical moonlight vigils by the river. Is She all talk I wonder? You can never trust Her even if she comes carrying bouquets of roses, (she knows I am a sucker for those).

I will let you into a secret now, just between you and me. I am not enamoured with Her as She usually brings armloads of grass pollen that render me breathless. To be honest, and I am going to be contrary now, such is my habit, Hers is the month that I am most likely to be found hiding away indoors, trying to escape the allergen-infested air that surrounds Her and the cottage as the farmers, (God bless them all), grow and harvest their seemingly ever-so-large fields of hay. (That sentence was far too long). In June I am most likely to be found looking dreadful, feeling depressed and to anyone who encounters me I am dangerously irritable. So I welcome any May rains. I see Her raindrops dampening down the rising pollen grains and making for me and for some of the female members of my family, a ‘kinder’ hay fever season. There has to be some advantage to this poor weather we are having doesn’t there?

Everything is growing like mad. That is the way of May I suppose. All the plants seem to be drinking in every fluid ounce of the rain which has been falling in abundance this week and I have never seen the area looking so green; it reminds me of Ireland. Torrents of the wet stuff are meant to be coming our way later today and possible thunderstorms.

Talking of which: last week S, my son, narrowly
escaped being struck by lightning as he stood polishing his boots by the open window of his first floor flat. He lives in a local market town and the lightning struck literally right in front of him, its accompanying thunder deafening him for a while. Everyone’s Sky boxes were blown but that was nothing, it was lucky no-one was hurt.
(Thanks to the guardian angel who was protecting him that evening).

A, my dear son-in-law, has ploughed our field this week so that will be a blessing - no pollen blowing my way from outside the cottage. M is to go round with his metal detector which is very exciting. There is the remains of a Roman Road diagonally crossing our field and I think that will be the area M will concentrate on. A medieval loom weight was discovered there a few weeks ago (see earlier blog) so I am very hopeful that more treasures might be unearthed.


The ploughed field that heralds the reduction in pollen this year and a chance to dig for artefacts.

M’s wonderful photographs.

Guardian angels and the spirits who watch over us.

The written word.
I was meditating on words in bed this morning, as you do. How, when you boil it down, they are just squiggles, lines in a particular shape that convert to everyone’s particular language. How they can mean so much, everything really to writers and readers, lovers of their very being.

Some words have been uplifting for me this week as I have been running on empty. Some were blogged, some in emails, some in good books of course.

I’ll finish with a good book then, the late Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody? I am enjoying every one of the squiggles in this one.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Did duit,


Blossomcottage said...

Lovely blog Cait, and I so enjoy the music that comes with it, like you I suffer with the pollen, and although I am sad that the heavy rain has made my tall flowers drop their heads to the ground breathing is so much easier, who was it said never take each breath for granted? Like you I hate to kill any plant the buttercups are beauitful but they are also very strong willed!! Its so true that a weed is just a flower in the wrong place!
Here hoping both of us will be able to see the blue sky in June through our weeping eyes!

Fern said...

I feel guilty pulling up the weeds sometimes too, the world would definately be a much duller place without Buttercups and Dandelions. I'm not really sure what classifies a weed as opposed to a wild flower, I often leave campions and always forgetmenots and welsh poppies but I know others think of them as weeds.
Good Luck with the metal detector, it must be exciting and great fun.

Kaycie said...

I was up quite early this morning due to suffering with allergies. It is so miserable!

Nice post, Cait.

bradan said...

Have huge areas of weeds here, some very pretty ones, but have to be ruthless or else I will never get anywhere with my garden plans.
Very interested in the 'metal detecting' - let us know how it goes.

Frances said...

Hello Cait.

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and also for those squiggly words that you write so well.

I also am glad for a rainy May's assistance with pollen dampening.

Have a lovely weekend.

Elizabethd said...

Can you imagine a world without those squiggles?
I often leave wild flowers to grow, Herb Robert in the rockery stones, wild pansies in the lawn, and lovely Ladies Lace in the hedge.....oh, and foxgloves, of course!


How terrible and powerful is the written word ! As ever great atmosphereic and interesting blog Cait. I have a garden full of weedsand adore buttercups!

lampworkbeader said...

Another delightfully atmospheric blog Cait. A delight to read.

Pipany said...

I really enjoyed my catch up on your blogs Cait. It seems so long since I read any with any regularity but, as ever, your words hit the perfect chord. Lovely buttercups. They seem to be having a great year don't they? xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Eeeeek to S nearly being it by lightening . . .how scary. Wild flowers in abundance here and on the whole except for a few areas they are left to flourish.

Oodles of sympathy with the hayfever - I am lucky and don't suffer, but HS does.

laurie said...

i love buttercups. they don't get a chance to spread here as they do where you are--i'm not sure why--so i'm always glad to see them.

and i definitely share your reservations about pulling healthy plants, even weeds. i feel guilty.

and--great choice of books. i love that book. and i was so sad to hear of Nuala's passing.

Sally's Chateau said...

You can never have too many buttercups and bluebells, I am a great fan of wild flowers and let them roam over the garden.

bodran... said...

I'm try ing to do a quick catch up. And your blog was a treat xx.
We all nearly got struck last week, the lightening came through our window and hit the stove, and J's car was struck all by the same huge crack of lightening even though we were over a mile apart..
So the angels where busy .
I'd be out in your field looking for artefacts too good luck xx

bodran... said...

Ps I hate to weed they are so pretty.

KAREN said...

What lovely pictures. The fields at the back of our house are filled with buttercups at the moment...trouble is they make Molly-dog sneeze as she runs through them!

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

As ever, a most beautiful post, filled with beautfiul flowers. I love the Buttercups and also the wild flowers.

Thank you for sharing the truly wonderful Blessing with us Cait.

I am a Hayfever sufferer, some days better than others. Interesting about 'M' metal detecting, would love to know of any wonderful treasures.


Lane said...

What a lovely post and the colours in the photos..! I love buttercups but I love bluebells too and that photo is gorgeous.

Your son was very lucky indeed!