Thursday, April 17, 2008

At the violet hour?

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Funny how I always misquote Eliot's opening line to myself: I tend to think of the violets which grow out of seemingly dead ground at this time of year. Today on Loch Striven there were great swathes of them along the verge, as well as tiny bright clusters like the ones in this photo. There were also multitudes of primroses and huge banks of acid yellow gorse - two contrasting yellows which couldn't have been more different.

Loch Striven is magical in spring. There are pheasants everywhere, the wee dowdy females pursued by strutting males in all their glossy greens and reds, emitting these startling croaks which sound almost mechanical in origin. Long-legged waders with curved beaks stalked the water's edge, and an oyster-catcher revved up to his penetrating see-saw squawk.

And because it is the school holidays here, there were people - some on foot, but even more in cars, resolutely driving to the road's end and back again: each one giving us two chances to dive for the verge and watch to see if they acknowledged us.

And I walked along trying to remember bits of The Waste Land and thinking of the waste of trying to teach me to appreciate it at Uni. I'd do a great deal better now - even if I do substitute violets for lilacs!


  1. A long-legged wader with a curved beak = a curlew!

  2. You know, I was pretty certain they were curlews, but the thought of you reading it and saying "no, no" put me off!

    And I'm hoping the current bug which has removed my photo will soon be fixed ...