EARLY-MORNING-CANTER-473-
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09------30
Civic-Service-18
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Animals06
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Remebrance-18-3
IMG9097
Brooks-Williams1
JazzFestSat572
D4S0472
Mop-Fair---10-10-09------08
Landscape
Sunset
White-Horse
Brazier
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
IMG8472
FROSTY-MORNING-
George-Wilding-301
D4S9273
Inbox-1
Inbox2
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Sunset2
MYFC005
Hares017cropped
Camilla-MSM
Musical-Time-Machine5
TdB-Pewsey044
Duke-of-Kent086
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Gordon-and-Sam
YELLOWHAMMER-473-
BABRURY-XC-JUMP-473
D812668
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
4MI-2013-11-28030
Tina-May5
Ogbourne
Turin-Brakes6
Scouting-for-Girls7
MBORO-HOCKEY-YOUTH-473
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
SBJ
Pete-Gage-Band1
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Roving-Crows1
Remebrance-18-1
Big-Bull
Snowy-High-Street
Remebrance-18-2

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bluebells and the Gift of Forgetting

 

The news that the bluebell drive at West Woods has had to be cancelled because of the wet weather will be especially disappointing to those who will now be unable to see them in all their glory.

Bluebell woods are one of the real wonders of England in the Spring and for many of us a visit to West Woods can feel like an important ritual that marks the month of May.  One of the things that always strikes me when I go is that it feels as if I am seeing them for the first time.  The particular combination of pale green beech trees and the hazy tone of the blue bells may be the same each year, but somehow I can never quite remember it. 

Equally, the different shades of green that abound at this time of year elude the memory so that each year can seem like ‘the best ever’ because each year feels like the first!

Usually in life, we are anxious if we think our memory isn’t as good as it once was and we find ourselves wracking our brains to remember this name or that place.  But the wonders of Spring seem to me to be enhanced by our inability to remember them fully, so much so that forgetting is a strange form of gift.

Perhaps it stems from the fact that what we are looking at is so intensely alive and can only be properly responded to in the present moment.  Part of the power lies in the fact that the moment cannot be ‘captured’.

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of Britain’s greatest writers about nature and would emphasize the way that when we really look at something and see it properly, we can get the feeling that it is looking back at us. In his journal of May 18 1870, he wrote

I do not think that I have ever seen anything more beautiful than the bluebell I have been looking at. I know the beauty of the Lord by it. Its inscape is mixed of strength and grace, like an ash tree. 

Hopkins developed the word ‘inscape’ to emphasize the particularity or quintessence of a thing, ‘the thisness-and-not thatness’ of something.  Related to this, Hopkins also wrote of ‘instress’ by which he meant the power (of God) that keeps individuality in being.

For Hopkins and for many people of faith the natural world thus points beyond itself and bears God’s signature.  But all of us, whether people of faith or not, can delight in the beauty of West (and other!) Woods and look forward to the fact that no matter how many times we may have been here before we will discover it as if for the first time.  A happy form of forgetting indeed!

 

Print

SBJ
Gordon-and-Sam
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Landscape
Brazier
Remebrance-18-3
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
White-Horse
Brooks-Williams1
4MI-2013-11-28030
ARKManton-2012-01-1449-
Duke-of-Kent086
Civic-Service-18
Camilla-MSM
Pete-Gage-Band1
Ogbourne
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
CivicSelfie1
Mop-Fair---10-10-09---08
Big-Bull
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09---30
Torch-2012-05-23093-
IMG8472
Remebrance-18-1
JazzFestSat572
Remebrance-18-2
Scouting-for-Girls7
IMG9097
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Animals06
Musical-Time-Machine5
Sunset2
D4S9273
Snowy-High-Street
Sunset
Turin-Brakes6
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
MYFC005
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08---07
Tina-May5
George-Wilding-301
D4S0472
D812668
TdB-Pewsey044
Roving-Crows1
Hares017cropped