The Country Diary of a Victorian Lady

Blue camas, pink sea brush, yellow spring gold

“In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from “Locksley Hall”

More than ever this spring of the year 2013, I get it….why “In spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Why we celebrate, with a twinkle in our eyes and a full, light heart, the “birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees” of spring, glorious spring.

I have just had a week of intoxicating interludes amidst the wildflowers, birds, bees, and bats of the hillside adjacent to my home. I call that magical setting the Plateau of the Muses; my private shorthand for the flat, open field just a three to four minute hike up Great camas in the sunabove my house. It’s the location of my writer’s hut, my sacred place, where over the years great sorrow has been soothed, great joy has been expressed, great healing has occurred, and my deepest thoughts have surfaced to be explored, supported, and caressed.

The wildflowers on the Plateau appear in greater and greater abundance each year, as we tirelessly indulge in our annual broom pulling on the acreage over which we have stewardship, that is the property we have the deed to, but I never feel it’s really ours. This year, the beauty of the flowers has quite literally taken my breath away…I’ve felt my heart nearly burst within me, my blood flowing faster, as I stood in the middle of the meadow surrounded by such pure, exquisite loveliness.

My photographer friend Lesley amidst the flowersBut also this year, an unusual heat wave, a teaser for the summer to come, came on so forcefully and unexpectedly for a few days that the wildflowers, ephemeral at the best of times, gave a wild gasp of delight, vividly responding in a rainbow of colour and a spurt of growth, and then quickly wilted, exhausted by the supreme effort of becoming — plants on steroids — and then, they were gone.

We could see this coming, so spent every evening at the hut, usually with friends, so we could share this short-lived, superb beauty with others too.

The rare chocolate lily

Naturally, the very fragile and short lives of the blooms this year makes them more precious, more appreciated than ever. When we have all the time in the world to leisurely sit back and appreciate beauty day after day, can we possibly cherish it as we do when it is fleeting? Isn’t that one of the lessons of the Buddhist monks who create the sand mandalas that take hours and hours of work, only to be swiftly transported to the sea and poured into the water, a transitory creation that we then let go of, as we need to learn to let go of everything we love, or hate, in our lives.

So, I am ever thankful of the beauty that surrounds me here in British Columbia, but never more so than in springtime, and never more so than on my Plateau of the Muses. I hope you have a plateau in your life as well. 

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© Star Weiss, all rights reserved.

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