Saturday, May 15, 2010

2 Singing in the rain!

Saturday May 1, 2010:

“Gorse shines flame bright, bluebells pooled at her feet.
Rainwashed green leaves are tightly beaded with May”


The sweet promise of spring has gone. For three weeks now, the sun has been shining; the air balmy; the plants have reached out cold limbs and burst forth. In the time between the last cold wind and today, my rowan tree has gone from thin bare branches shivering in the bitter wind, to leafy opulence in feathery greenness. She is fully clothed and spring indeed has come!

But that was until the day before yesterday. It has been raining almost nonstop for 48 hours now. Fond ideas of traipsing through the warm dry heath land are forgotten as I put on my walking boots and pack my American Army cagoule! I put an extra layer under my green jingly jesters outfit and leave the house.

It is an hour or more away from dawn and yet the street corner blackbirds sing as though to say,”Merry May! “As the cab turns every corner. I open the window and stick my ear out, so eager am I to hear their glorious song.

By the bridge between the houses, a particularly loud blackbird is singing. I fold my hands, bow to him and blow him a kiss. I trumpet in response to his singing and call out “Morning Mr Blackbird!”

The sky lies low overhead. It’s not actually raining. All around us the grass, bushes and trees drip. Despite this, a bubbling chorus of birds are singing already and the east is not yet light.

I place a chaplet of exotic flowers upon my head and secure them with my hat. I jingle fragrantly and gently off up the Parliament Hill.

High up on Parliament Hill, the air is damply cool. London lies sleeping below us. Canary Warf is tinged with a pink expectancy although sunrise is an hour away still.

As is our way, we have a bit of a sing and dance. The ‘Obby ‘Oss skips about. We move on up to the circle of pines and dance in and out of them for some unknown reason singing “the Sky boat Song!” Ah the mysteries of public pagan rites on hamstead heath at dawn. Everyone very much enjoys the sing, as we all know the words and it is a jolly good tune!

The bench and the fence minus its nasty spikes doesn’t seem so daunting this morning as I easily slip over into Boadicea’s Mount. I stand under a prickly gorse bush, flaming with flower in the gloom of the dawn, my feet in a pool of English bluebells.

On top of the mount, we make our wishes, share chocolate and sing a welcome to the sun, rising now behind the clouds beyond the tall buildings of the city far below us. The air thins and I know that the sun is somewhere, imagine its warmth, bow low in salute.

Under the dove grey sky, soft as a pigeon’s chest, we dance across the heath. Stepping over the rivulets, treading carefully across the moist mud, we sing as we go. Everything is green as green can be. The may is mostly not out, except in warm sun catching pockets where it is frothed with the first opening of the flowers. Gorse shines fierily and little bluebells dance in the wind. The birds accompany us along our path, silvering the air with their song as we move across the soft yielding earth.

The heath is deserted. Aside from it being a Saturday, the heavy rain of the night before and the threatening morning skies keep all but the hardiest of dog walkers away. Rhined with rain, the new leaves of the oak woods shine acidly. Our path winds on between the trees, across the green, until we turn into a clearing where the Kenwood Well sits neatly in its marble setting.

We dance around the well and sing. We drink the waters, make blessings to each other and the earth, we sing some more and the birds sing too.

But it is time for breakfast. We leave the well and walk back across the heath. AS we walk, the sky lowers and it begins to rain. Our party-coloured apparel is soon shrouded in sensible rainwear as we walk beneath the glittering morning song of the birds.

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