Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summers of my memory

This last week has given us the June weather we dream of but seldom see.  Day after day of sunshine and brilliant skies, and those long, crystal-clear evenings fading from primrose to palest green in the west, until at last a round moon rises and floods all the valley with light.  A day so lovely it was difficult to do anything except idle in the garden, watching the cattle, sleek and rounded with spring grass, wandering knee deep in brazen buttercups, filling a quiet world with the steady tearing noise of their grazing.  Away found the bend of the river the boys were bathing in Finch's Well.  An occasional shout echoed along the wood as a slim body flashed across the green and dived off the steep bank to vanish from one's range of vission into the dark water of the deepest pool in the river.

A few days of drought and hot sun have dimmed the varying greens of the wide sweep of wood to a minor tone.  There is a thickening of outline, a massing of shapes into solid colour, and along the lower fringe the first moonlike discs of the elder flower are starring the mass of green.  Many people dislike elder, in spite of its virtues, but I can never stand under those drooping bushes laden with great umbels of flower without the thick, warm scent taking me straight back to the summers of my childhood.  Summers which in my memory were never wet or cold, but a vista of long, warm days and purple evenings.  Days when the great scarlet poppies flamed and dropped under the drawing-room window, the turtle doves crooned interminable in the shrubbery and one lived upon the edge of undiscovered mystery, for the door between reality and make-believe stood permanently ajar.

Extract from 'A Norfolk Notebook' by Lilias Rider Haggard.