Nature in April
Tony Kelly (mid April 1979):
At last the rain has stopped and the air has been warm, even hot, and full of insects and birdsong. Slowly, and it seems very slowly, the faded yellow of the matted grass is becoming greener as the new shoots push their way through, and all over it on its peculiarly smoothed surface, thousands of little wolf spiders run about in search of food. Two of them pounce on each other, realise their mistake and make off in different directions. In the stream, green filaments of algae are beginning to weave outwards from the under-water stones and a darker species bubbles away in the dwindling pools of the hollows. There's a new growth of leaves on the kale that the Winter devastated, and tiny specks of green on the hazels and the hawthorn and a few more warm days will bring the leaves which indeed are already appearing on the spindle trees. There are bright new leaves of wood sorrel under the hedges and the tips of the new fronds of the maidenhair spleenwort among the old fronds on the ancient mortar of the old stone wall, and a withered-looking hart's tongue fern that decided to be almost deciduous this Winter. Of flowers there's scarcely a sign; the snowdrops are fading now and the daffodils are just opening their flower buds and the blue and purple flowers of lungwort are adorning a migrant rhubarb patch. But the Sun rides high, there are moths aplenty, birdsong in the air, and a jackdaw is hacking away at a slate on our roof while another is bringing presents of firewood and dumping them on the bed, all of which is to say that the warm weather is coming and, in a day or two, even the trees will dress in their finery to welcome the Goddess of the Summer.