I think for a while about the hills while driving home along the spine of Long Mountain (my very favourite journey in The Whole Wide World). Those hills to the east - Pontesbury and Pontesford, the Stiperstones, Corndon, Bromlow Callow and Stapely Common, the Long Mynd behind: how unusually blue they appeared a couple of days ago - I'm seeing Housman's 'blue remembered hills' - although strictly speaking they're a bit south of here.
Inevitably these lines from 'A Shropshire Lad' come to mind:
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
And then, even as I whisper those words - eyes wide, mouth half open - I'm off on an 'away day'. A helter-skelter-brain-storm of poetry and prose; of half forgotten lines ('loveliestoftreesthecherrynow di da di di da etc') and music - Vaughan Williams and Elgar and the young George Butterworth (who set 'A Shropshire Lad' to music), The Song of Songs: 'For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away..... and Thomas Hardy and hymns and birdsong, daffodils, light and thunder - even gloomy old RS Thomas - all come crowding round. Such a glorious muddle. There are frogs and spawn - and buzzards soar hopefully and in anticipation over fields of new born lambs (et in arcadia ego) and mew into the large sky.
This is kaleidoscopic thinking and I'm having a lovely time - there are larks ascending:
Suddenly above the fields you’re pouring
Pure joy in a shower of bubbles,
Lacing the spring with the blue thread of summer.
You’re the warmth of the sun in a song.
You’re the light spun to a fine filament;
Sun on a spider-thread –
You’re the lift and balance the soul feels,
The terrible, tremulous, uncertain thrill of it –
You’re all the music the heart needs,
Full of its sudden fall, silent fields."
From: The Lost Music, Bloodaxe Books, 1996
......I want to meet the green man. I want to find a flint arrowhead, press seeds into the warming soil, feel heat and light upon my wintered cheek - feel part of this new awakening season and stay connected with the old. These are exhilarating days. Spring's magic must be working - I'm sure it's not just some chemical imbalance in my brain.