A sight to make a winter-weary heart sing is the first glimpse of a Sweet Violet peeking out from a mass of fresh green leaves, sheltering under an English hedgerow in Spring.
I was lucky enough to happen across a bank of these spirit lifting wild flowers today as I wandered along a little used footpath that meandered through fields filled with Dandelions and along shady corridors of Hawthorn, Elm and Oak.
This is the English Spring of legend, so much more difficult to find in the hustle and bustle of the modern world. But it does endure. Thankfully. Here you can still gather Lilacs and smell the fresh cerulean scent of the Bluebells. It all just becomes ever more elusive as urban sprawl encroaches on the countryside.
Such timeless pathways are more precious than ever. For the scene I saw today had likely not changed in five hundred years. As I ambled on, a Peacock Butterfly followed me along the path for perhaps twenty yards, celebrating the first warm sunshine of the year. I contemplated the thought that the ancestors of this rare, otherworldly creature would have delighted travellers before me who walked this same trail a century ago. Or even a thousand years ago.
It is comforting, in this transient existence, to know that some of the abiding miracles of nature that survive amid the loud, brash, modern world cannot be hurried and will go on.
But, along with the delight and the wonder of discovering the eternal, comes a heart wrenching awareness of the fragility of it all. For the manifestations of eternity can be so easily wiped out in the blink of an eye, at the whim of those who don't understand. Those for whom wealth or greed might appear to be worth more than the priceless beauty of nature.
I won't be telling anyone about my countryside pathway. It's too precious. But I would urge you to discover your own.
For there is no other sight that can make a winter-weary heart sing like that of the first Sweet Violet in Spring.
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