'...rough winds do shake the darling buds of May...' sonnet 18, William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616
Spring had only just begun but it felt like summer. The days were long and hot and sunny, and I didn't want to waste a second. I rose early to make the most of it. After the long cold winter's hibernation, it was catch up time!
I sowed seeds, and I planted and watered, painted outside doors and windows, and garden furniture that had been washed by the snow. Sorted out the loft, the shoe cupboard and my wardrobe. Recycled, renewed, repaired, and baked a million fruit crumbles and streusel tarts.
Before the sun was up I worked on my little shop, that had also mostly hibernated, and then did the same on the long light evenings. It was good to feel an order and rhythm return to this little life we've made for ourselves.
Then April showers came and we went to London and when poor Ahmad was in meetings, I explored the Serpentine in the rain, and the green lungs, and saw bright green parakeets, horses and heron. Discovered little lanes with quaint mews houses and the Liberty store, with it's ancient oak beams taken from an old ship. I met friends, and one of my sisters, and drank gunpowder tea from the teeniest Japanese teapot.
But best of all we crossed that bridge again, and visited our
little acorn in Bristol. She pampered us. Baked us pie and made crumble, and delicious breakfasts; and there were goodies and parcels waiting for us in the spare bedroom.
And the most precious gift for me. All wrapped in tissue-y paper and tied with thin twine. It was a book that I had picked up so many times in my favourite bookshop. Each time I had put it back because I already have a version. A newer one. The same words, different skin. Every time I visited that bookstore, I would search for it. The little skinny one in-between the stout tomes.
I would take it out and pour over the hand-cut pages with their serrated edges. Feel the smooth marbled, paper backing and carefully open the delicate leaves and read the inked hand written inscription from 1936.
Then I would turn a page to the printers title: 'House - Warming and Winter Visitors, from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, privately printed MCMXXXVI, ' and then the next page: 'These essays from Walden have been privately printed by the Haddon Craftsmen for their friends at Christmas,' with subtle green print of pine cones on a branch. On the following page, the little house in the woods and the text began. Walden's beautiful poetic words.
I would find an old comfy armchair in the store and settle in, whilst everyone else was on their search for books ...I would sit and drool over the pages, sometimes uttering a quiet exclamation at it's beauty. I'd look up and someone would catch my eye and and chuckle. They had been their too.
Then I would put it back. Almost in the right place, but not quite. Maybe a few letters along. So that it would still be there the next time I came.
The last time that I looked for it, it had gone. I was surprised that it hadn't gone earlier and was a little sad but reasoned someone else loved it, just as much as I did.
...Little did I know who that person was... and now that lovely old book has a new inscription below the older one, cursive script blue/black ink, this time to me from my little acorn and her larger oak...
'...I went a-graping to the river meadows, and loaded myself with clusters more precious for their beauty and fragrance than for food. There too I admired, though I did not gather, cranberries, small waxen gems, pendants of the meadow grass, pearly and red...'Henry David Thoreau,from his essays, 1854.
Now we are well and truly into May and the darling buds are blooming with a vengeance. But what about your garden, how does it grow? dx