Saturday, 21 March 2009

A perfect day - spring Equinox

My three companions walking on ahead on the ridge of Fosbury Camp Hillfort

Walking today with three friends we spent a few hours out in the glorious spring sunshine at the vernal equinox - we walked to beautiful and peaceful village Lower Chute where we stopped at the village pond for lunch - then onto Fosbury Ring, 26 acres, Iron Age hillfort via the lovely village of Chute Standen. We found an ancient beech on one of the ramparts which, with a girth of six and a half metres, is thought to be one of the largest in the country.

Frog spawn (and a frog) in the village pond of Lower Chute on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border. On the quiet village lane there was a road sign saying "Caution, frogs and toads in the road".

Wild primroses growing in the mossy undergrowth of woodland

Wild violets spotted along a bank on our walk today

A poem for Equinox 'March morning unlike others' by Ted Hughes
Blue Haze. Bees hanging in the air at the hive-mouth
Crawling in prone stupor of sun
On the hive lip. Snowdrops. Two buzzards,
Still-wings each
Magnetised to the other
Float Orbits.
Cattle standing warm. Lit, happy stillness.
A raven, under the hill,
Coughing among bare oaks.
Aircraft, elated, splitting blue.
Leisure to stand. The knee deep mud at the trough
Stiffening. Lambs freed to be foolish.
The earth invalid, dropsied, bruised, wheeled
Out into the sun,
After the frightful operation.
She lies back, wounds undressed to the sun,
To be healed,
Sheltered from the sneapy chill creeping North wind,
Leans back, eyes closed, exhausted, smiling
Into the sun. Perhaps dozing a little.
While we sit, and smile, and wait, and know
She is not going to die.
Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
It was one of those perfect days, I felt completely at ease with my three companions - the cool breeze and warm spring sunshine combined to make ideal walking weather. Sitting by the village pond in Lower Chute I was in harmony with the world as we watched frogs rising to the surface of the pond in the amongst the frog spawn. (I still haven't managed to kiss one, oh well, too late now).
We walked on to the Hatchet Inn where we sat outside with a drink - as we chatted I watched a buzzard soar overhead and had the best view ever of their beautiful under-feather markings.

Later, as we made our way down from the Iron Age hillfort of Fosbury Camp, I was treated to a rare sighting of a barn owl in flight - looking snowy white in the sunlight.
A perfect spring Equinox day!