Sunday, May 11, 2008


Today, sunday, being such a glorious May day went for a long circular walk; the sun shone through the mist, and i pondered 'anima', the life force that is so strong at this time of the year. We went past the old hillfort at Littledown with the barrow at its entrance, it has always seemed to me that this particular fort was a holding place for animals, especially as it had three bronze age barrows in its confines, no excavation, except some desultory digging around early in the 20th century which did not produce much.
But this walk along the steep sided valley that leads to Northstoke has a magical atmosphere all its own on an early morning, my photographs reveal that I was interested in the sheep that graze along its steep side. Simple creatures, somewhat surprised to see me and the dog, they were taking their rest in a perfect morning, rudely disturbed by my presence they lumbered away summoning their young to heel.
A lamb had managed to get into the woods under the fort and bleated pathetically to be rescued, but not me this time, last time I tried to shepherd another adventurous lamb had ended in frustation on my part as the silly creature refused to go through the gate I held open. There was of course the obligatory black sheep amongst them, the genetic twinning of sheep is somewhat worrying - peas in pods come to mind, so that an occasional 'throwback' to the black gene always brings out a feeling of a relief, that our cloning of farm animals is'nt always a hundred per cent.
Did I arrive at any thoughts about anima mundi, not really except perhaps that we are very lucky to live on such a beautiful earth that has the power to renew itself with such vigour in the spring, and that though we tame the earth to our own needs we also add and create to this explosive wilderness.
What did I see in the way of wildflowers, not much sadly, the use of nitrogen on grass pushes out our wildflowers, the great leafed butterbur was along the track through the hillfort, and the small leafed wild cranesbill, vetches were beginning to show, and the fields danced with dandelions and buttercups. Buttercups always seem to thrive in fields where horses are kept, their shining petals reflecting the sun back on itself.

Moss on the steep side of the hill underneath the fort.

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