The warm rain tumbled from the gutter in one of those midsummer downpours as I hastened across the lawn behind my house in Suffolk and took shelter in the moat. Breaststroking up and down the thirty yards of clear, green water, I nosed along, eyes just at water level. The frog's-eye view of rain on the moat was magnificent. Rain calms water, it freshens it, sinks all the floating pollen, dead bumblebees and other flotsam. Each raindrop exploded in a momentary, bouncing fountain that turned into a bubble and burst. The best moments were when the storm intensified, drowning birdsong, and a haze rose off the water as though the moat itself were rising to meet the lowering sky. Then the rain eased and the reflected heavens were full of tiny dancers: water sprites springing up on tiptoe like bright pins over the surface. It was raining water sprites.
Over every inch of wood, as far as and even beyond its boundaries, the bluebells are also thickening for flower, a million spikes with dark hearts of bud and here and there a breaking out of petals. They cover the rich sodgy wood-soil like shining green reeds, everywhere. Among them and perhaps because of them there are few primroses, fewer anemones. The bluebells crowd out everything, drown the whole wood-floor with great pools of flower until the trees, in May, seem to be standing in deep lakes of liquid mauve.