The World is Full of May

One of the positive aspects of this current crisis is the slower pace of life and the time to have more walks and enjoy the natural world.

It seems so strange that during this bizarre time, nature is burgeoning. I have never heard so much bird song, and the trees and flowers are, quite simply, in full bloom. It seems the complete opposite of the pathetic fallacy. During this COVID-19 ridden time, flowers should be drooping and birds should be quieter and depressed. But no, nature is having a field day! Maybe it's enjoying the peace and quiet and absence of mankind!

One of our favourite walks is from the town of Kirkby Lonsdale, (excellent for essential shopping at Booth's!), through the churchyard, past Ruskin's View and out towards the ancient hamlet of Underley. It's a stunning walk at any time of year. Ruskin's View, named thus, because the great man himself described it as follows: "I do not know in all my country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine." But at this time of year, the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of May blossom, and it's even more stunning.

The May blossom put me in mind of Tennyson's wonderful lines:

"Blow, trumpet, for the world is white with May;
Blow trumpet, the long night hath rolled away!
Blow through the living world -- "Let the King reign." 

These wonderful words, from Tennyson's The Coming of Arthur, are also quoted in a very funny girls' book from the 1950s. In Joanna Lloyd's Catherine, Head of House, there is the following episode:

".....Miss Laing found her reading glasses and said that they would do quite well for distance....Catherine gazed out of the window at the fields of buttercups and the hedges of May. "Blow Trumpets", she said "for the world is full of May". She took a large bite of ham sandwich and choked a little as Miss Bird had been rather lavish with the mustard. "Oh is that May?" asked Miss Laing, with interest. "Everything looks very funny through these glasses.  I can see something white, but I thought it was sheep." 

I'm not sure what Alfred, Lord Tennyson would have made of this, but I always enjoy coming across a quotation in a somewhat strange place. This, is turn, reminds me of Alan Bennett's wonderful words:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

So very true and a very rambling way of saying how much I am loving the show which nature is putting on for us, and, in particular, the glorious May.