Sunday, 29 April 2012

Early morning....

The foxgloves are thick but flowerless yet of course - but among them and beyond them, stretching as far as the boundaries of the wood the bluebells are also thickening for flower - a million spikes with dark hearts of bud - and here and there they are breaking out.

I've opted for another route this morning - just to keep things fresh - as I loop around and begin the return section of my ride I notice a stretched wire next to a copse that is used for rearing game birds. On the wire hang the game keepers victims, the wild enemies of the precious tame pheasants whose destiny in life is to be cared for more tenderly than most babies and then to be massacred more brutally than most soldiers. There they hang the enemies of civilisation. A stoat or weasel, a couple of magpies, a fur-shop full of grey squirrels - here there are no sounds - life is exterminated except for the pheasant and the rabbit who are reserved for death on a higher social plane. It seems the heart and core of this place is contained in one small space - a small oval; the pheasants egg. The pheasant is the lord of life around here - the divine sovereign of the woods - nothing must be done to upset his chances of ordained death. Like the murderer who falls sick on the eve of execution, he must be kept alive, tenderly, jealously at all costs, in order that the squire and his chums may not be cheated of the ultimate satisfaction - pre-arranged extermination.

I wonder about the game keepers - they must be brutalised by the lives they lead. By the constant ironic necessity of having to preserve to kill and to kill in order to preserve. They are victims of organised sadism and probably never realise it.

Enough ranting. It remains dull and wet here in the heartlands. I didn't see another cyclist at all this morning - not one. Even in the depths of winter there would always be at least one other madman out there. One thing though, the landscape is sooooooo green. The rain has heightened the intensity of hues and also served to add a boost to growth. Grass is thriving, trees are in leaf the landscape is pushing upwards at a rapid rate. The rape fields, of which there are many on my route, are a full blaze of searing sun coloured warmth. The wild cherries are in bloom, unlike trees in gardens these wild varieties have no shyness. The uncertainties of cold and rain and sun never seems to affect them they flower whatever - a glorious pageant of unlikely colour - the trees of poets, they are the tree versions of daffodils and lilys. They illuminate the woods and verges with stars of brightness - they look friendly - a cornucopia of soft amber, cream and ruby. The blackthorn blooms are in full flow here and the wild cherry flowers are clear and bright against the gunmetal greyness of the morning sky - a true and ethereal loveliness, visible from afar. In orchards and gardens the cherry will grow to great extent but usually be reigned back in height, but in the woods, hemmed by oak and chestnut, the cherry can manage an immense height, flowerless until the extreme tip lifts itself above the crowd of neighbours to display a thick white cluster of blossom floating above the earth like a cloud.

As I get closer to home I pedal more slowly - almost as if I want to make the last couple of miles last longer. It may be dull and damp but there is still plenty to see..... and dream about.

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