I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but the local park is really rather lovely. It’s far more natural than the town parks I was brought up to, with their bright formal flowerbeds and low box-edged parterres. Although it’s tiny and it has a local council office in the middle, it still manages to boast a brook, a bluebell wood, a vast range of native, fruit, and ornamental trees, and lots of wild flowers.
The land is all slopes, contours and curves, and there are several little raised banks that provide secluded walks between the trees, as well as a great wooded dip where the local youths practise their mountain biking.
There aren’t many actual tarmacked routes: just one that skirts the park on one side and leads from the medical centre to the railway station, and one that runs across the centre. But there’s no actual way to follow a path round the park and it’s only after a few weeks of good weather that it’s possible to explore the whole expanse without a proper pair of wellies.
What with climate change and the different expert ways of dividing the year, it’s not always clear which season we’re in. But however good the weather is at the moment, we’re just three weeks after the vernal equinox, so I think I can be confident and say that this is still spring.
And in the park, the trees are blossoming, the early summer wildflowers are coming into bloom and the undergrowth is burgeoning, with ferns, brambles, nettles and cow parsley all wrassling together to reclaim the territory they lost during the winter.
Two days ago, there was a track here.
I trod a fox-run between tumbling green
to a clearing where a wren darted to safety
in the undergrowth; on a fallen tree trunk,
a squirrel nibbled a young sycamore bud.
Now, as I approach, ragged shoots reach out
across the way and brambles tear my legs.
Nature claws back her own.