Yesterday, I returned to my Beloved Shropshire for a brief, glorious visit.
The drive down wound around the border of England and Wales, as a cat winds itself (purring) around your legs.
Old Oak’s, deep seated in the hedgerows, surprised me with their dark naked beauty – how quickly I forget their magnificence; their beauty! Bear branched, they reveal their inner most strength; the wide towering trunk, the stag like appearance of their upper boughs and the delicate finger like quality of their twigs.
Oak’s, once seen with the ordinary eye… now the gaze has shifted they become something deeper, more of the Spirit of the County (and spirits of the county) than mere tree’s peppered here and there – silent sentinels standing guard; purpose abounds in the sunshine, as I drive on to the Lake District of North Shropshire and come to rest a while, in Ellesmere.
I call in to an old black and white timbered antique shop, bowed and bent with the age of time (higgidy-wiggily floors and a fire in an old, old range bring the essence of the town, nay the county, to my senses) for a warm, as the wind was bitingly cold! I mused on how many generations the old range had warmed, how many mouths it had fed? How many births and deaths…? How many comings and goings…?
The hearth is the heart of the home, the magical container of the gift stolen from the Gods, forged from fire it’s self. It is alive…
Though the snowdrops are up, and in bloom, there are no lambs in the fields yet – though I am sure they are still in the barns – these for me, are the signs of Candlemass, or what is popularly known as Imbolc by many these days.
Another sign in nature I look for are the Hazel catkins lengthening – they become like the new born lambs tails, wiggling merrily in the breeze as, the pollen, driven by the winds, rather than the bumble bee’s caress (for they are still in their winter slumber) seek the tiny, ruby red, female flowers… the embryonic nuts of the autumn to come.
Mother Nature is so elegant in Her simplicity, words can not convey the true wonder of it… to truly understand the Land has to be walked, worked, wondered at, at each and every opportunity. Long may it be so… the sap is rising; the internal fire burns brighter with each passing day – the Year is a Waxing! Huzzah!