Day 31 May 4

Music in May. The first lines of Ivor Novello’s song kept popping into my head after passing the May tree in the gardens of the Clock House, a Victorian Gothic folly whose shrubbery gardens fall sharply down to the park. The delicate blossoms dotting the branches like tiny white candles, seemed to have just appeared today. I paused a moment to admire them. 

“The first music in May

Sings to my heart

Live for today…”

Incurable romantic that he was, Ivor Novello wrote numerous musicals with improbable stories and some memorable tunes that visit the realms of yearning and idealised love. In WW1 he became famous for the patriotic sentiment in Keep the Home Fires Burning.

None of that is relevant to my walk. The song though with its lines: “live for today” is.

I ponder lockdown and sometimes wonder if the cure is worse than the disease. Now don’t shoot me down in flames! We all entertain myriad thoughts and ideas vying with one another all the time – like panning for gold. Surely a nugget of absolute truth will appear if I pan long enough? Or maybe we shut the operation down for a rest and come back to it another time. 

My daily experiences as I walk always produce the same result. I am here, wherever that is, right now, fully engaged in appreciating and experiencing whatever appears in front of me. Up the road I overhear a conversation between a gardener and a woman: “What new normal will it be?” She says as he pulls up brambles. “Will Heathrow reopen its runways?”

I couldn’t help thinking how different concerns strike us differently. I have decided (not consciously; it sort of emerged) to not crystal gaze into life after lockdown. My experience has been the richer for it. 

Down the alley again I collect more firewood and decide stinging my hands a bit (no gloves) is worth it to gather a few nettles. 

Back home I make nettle soup, which has the same basic ingredients as wild garlic soup! It has a more delicate taste, but is just as green.