I'm about a month earlier than last time, and the ground either side of the narrow path is almost waist-high in variations on the theme of cow parsley/wild carrot/Queen Anne's Lace - take your pick - plus nettles, goose-grass, wild garlic, ragged robin and all manner of other spring rampage. If you crouch down on the path to take low-level photos, it feels like being in a miniature rain forest. The variety of shapes, colours and patterns holds me spellbound for a while. I'm particularly taken with a nettle-like plant with intricate yellow markings on the lower lip of its flower, which (with a bit of imagination) reminds me of a maharajah sitting under a ceremonial parasol. (Later I discover that this rejoices in the ethereal name of Yellow Archangel and is nothing to do with nettles.) The meandering line of the path stands out more clearly, cutting through the green shagginess around it. Strong shadows tiger-stripe the ground and the trees stand up straight and dark like spoons in green coffee. Must be a cappucino - there's a froth of cow parsley on top.
I remind myself to look up as well as down. Above me, the canopy is a lacy, fresh spring green, that green which is as close to yellow as it can be and still be green, with the slender dark lines of branches scribbled against it. And I can look out as well in; through the windows in the stream's cloak of trees, I can see white cattle grazing in the fields. White cattle against spring-green grass, with a frame of dark branches, causes the camera to throw up its hands in horror and complain of too much contrast.
|Maybe a murderer?|
The ducklings aren't the only youngsters on the pond. A trio of young moorhens, much shyer and less showy, are sticking close to their mother and hugging the island in the middle.