At the beginning of the week we were waking up to snow and each nights the temperatures have been slipping below zero. However, the days are filled with sunshine and warmth, and a vibrancy fills the word. Spring has arrived. A few years ago, I discovered something wonderful that the isophenes of Spring tell us about the the progress of the season.
We also join the poet, writer, and naturalist, Edward Thomas, at the end of his 1913 bicycle ride in Pursuit of Spring and finds, high on the Quantocks Hills, the grave of Winter.
“15th April, Thursday.
Today was one of those perfect Spring days.
The air still had that edge of ice to it,
But the day was filled with a thick, syrupy, warmth
that was heavy with blossom and insects.
And there was that light that you seem to get only in April;
the flooded, chalky, palettes you find
in the paintings of Krøyer and the other Scandinavian artists.
The day, and the season, is as fresh and as sweet as Spearmint Chewing Gum.
In this episode refer to and read a short passage from Edward Thomas’ (1914) In Pursuit of Spring. A free (open access) copy can be found on the Project Guttenberg site which incidentally features a rather lovely picture of two narrowboats on the Paddington canal as a frontispiece - Edward Thomas: In Pursuit of Spring.
For those interested in Edward Thomas’ wife, Helen, you can read her two lyrical and poignant autobiographies, As it Was and World without Endin the collected edition, Under Storm’s Wing (2012) published by Carcanet.
I also read a very short extract from Miles Hadfield (1950) An English Almanac published by JM Dent and Sons.
For progress on the ducks and swans – see the Nighttime on Still Waters Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded toFreesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.
Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.
All other audio recorded on site.
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