Those Darling Buds of May

The first day of May was heralded with birdsong and bright, bright sunshine. After a month of heat and cold, scorching days and downpours, April had left the building. She slipped away with her dappled raincoat under her arm without a backwards glance.

The swallows were waiting for her passage before once more taking up residency in the large shed out the back and Demelza, the black-furred beauty sat on the ancient seat of the old lawnmower and watched their every swoop and dive.

May’s arrival was overshadowed by the hint of flower on the blackthorn, the half-opened apple blossom in the back field and the hemlock and queen’s lace now surging forward out of the roadside ditches.

I walked the field to the washing line, feeling optimistic, the sky was bright blue, the type of cerulean that screamed eternal sunshine.  As I hung out the towels I paused to look around, to take in what felt like the first day of Summer. The long grass had already dampened the bottom hems of my jeans. Through the bright clumps of clover and dandelion leaves the cat picked her way, dark amongst the rich greens. She paused for a rub, giving a small miaow of thanks before continuing past on her little cat path through to next door’s field.

Flies buzzed about my head, I heard the drone of worker bees, the raucous chatter of a pair of crows flying overhead and the cooing of pigeons nesting in the large ash growing amongst the hazel in the hedge. Somewhere a tractor started up in the distance, if I closed my eyes I could hear the quiet tick of the watch on my arm like a heartbeat.

I finished hanging the washing and took the empty basket inside, the cat bounding back to slip between my legs at the back door. When I entered the kitchen she was already curled on her favourite cushion, her eyes tightly shut against the sunshine that flowed through the patio window. I joined her minutes later with my first coffee of the morning and my notebook and each in our different ways, we acknowledged the beauty of the first day of May.

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