There are those times when I hadn’t planned to forage a single leaf. I’m on my way somewhere else then stop and spend hours exploring a new wonderland, loosing all track of time or purpose. Hours later as the night draws in, I leave the woods, the hood of my coat now an improvised basket full of mushrooms and herbs. For me, such times represent a letting go, moving from busy squirrel mode, with so many thoughts and concerns, to gradually slowing down. I once again remember to listen, allowing myself to be guided by a different compass. I am drawn here and there not having to know. It is the experience, the moment, which is the prize rather than a basket, or improvised hood full, of mushrooms. As I was preparing to leave the woods at the weekend, on just such an evening, I came across a poem by Laurie Lee inscribed on a post. For me it brought the spirit of nature, of every creature, to life. As I read it out loud, over and over, I was sure I could hear the trees listening to me.
April’s Rise by Laurie Lee.
If ever I saw a blessing in the air
I see it now in this still early day
Where lemon-green the vaporous morning drips
Wet sunlight on the powder of my eye.
Blown bubble-film of blue, the sky wraps round
Weeds of warm light who’s every route and rod
Splutters with soapy green, and all the world.
Sweats with the bead of summer in its bud.
If ever I heard blessings, it is there
Where birds in trees that shoals and shadows are
Splash with their hidden wings and drops of sound
Break on my ears, their crests of throbbing air.
Pure in the haze, the Emerald Sun dilates,
The lips of sparrow’s milk the mossy stones
While white as water by the lake a girl
Swims her green hands among the gathered swans
Now as the almond burns it’s smoking wick,
Dropping small flames to light the candled grass;
Now, as my low blood scales its second chance
If ever world were blessed, now it is.