Monday, April 6, 2009

Always different, always the same

Running on my usual route these last two days I noticed the hedgerows are full of yellow and and white flowers; gorse, broom; saxifrage, daisies, dandelions, primroses, blackthorn, daffodils,narcissus. It's obvious really but I'm not sure I'd quite noticed it before. Even the Brimstone butterfly that I passed was yellow. There must be reason why April is a month of yellow and white; by June the lanes will be full of pinks and blues.

Other things I noticed on my run: a large buzzard with moulting feathers on the post by the school house, the rooks nesting at Llochmeyler; fresh earth dug from the badger sets at Treffynon, a calf still covered in after-birth being licked by its mother.

This evening we went to Porthgain and walked to the white tower above the harbour entrance. The sea near the harbour walls was calm, a gelid turquoise turning to pinkish grey towards the open sea. To the west of the tower is a cave where the waves batter the cliffs and the water seems never calm - gulls hover on the updrafts and the messy wind spills over towards where we stand.

Daniel was looking with me into the cauldron below. Why are the rocks are so black, he asked? I pointed out the orange bands that indicate where the spray is soft enough for the lichen to grow; above it moss, then grass. I told him that on Ramsey, which takes the force of the Atlantic gales, the lichen only grows at over 30 metres above the sea.

I noticed too the curving horizon that my friend John would have pointed out; the white lines of foam that mark the surface of the water; the sun dipping beneath the horizon towards Carn Lliddi; the lighthouse at Strumble flashing. I was thinking that I must have stood here hundreds of times; always different, always the same.

As we were leaving Daniel said,' Can you remember how you used to bring us here and say feel the wind, feel the wind.' And I pictured how he used to stand with his coat above his head like a kite, leaning into the draft and shouting at the sea.'


  1. Not hawthorn blossom yet Mark, it's blackthorn, i.e. sloe blossom. A much bitterer flower and harder won from winter. There is a term 'blackthorn winter' and I've noticed that every year the blackthorn will hang on for the last cold spell before it blooms thick as cream. Once the blackthorn is really out in the hedges you know winter is done, even if, as so often, it blooms in a chilly spell.

  2. A lovely and touching final paragraph.

  3. I hadn't realised you had a post called this. I have one too, from about a month ago. The ability to be always different, always the same is one of the best qualities an object, or a place, or anything else for that matter, can have I think.