‘The Most Holy Expression of Spring’

Mayflies dancing – Photo by Mirjana Rankov at https://www.flickr.com/photos/eccolog/18865234038/

Dear Readers, I read the most beautiful piece in The Guardian today by Mark Cocker, one of my very favourite nature writers. You can read it at the link below.


You might remember my review of one of his previous books, Crow Country. And on my bedside table is his latest work, called ‘One Midsummer’s Day – Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth‘. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in, and will also probably be looking at Patrick Barkham’s new book, about the life of Roger Deakin – his most famous book was probably ‘Waterlog’ (he is credited with jump-starting the current wild swimming craze here in the UK) but I also loved his other books. So many books! So little time! And of course everything looks most desirable against a background of today’s revision, which included the many different types of photosynthesis and a quick look at water potential. Only one day to go!

And here is a piece that Cocker mentions, by John Clare. Clare was so clearly a man after my own heart. I have been known to greet an unexpected insect with much pleasure too, though I’m not sure I’d go as far as to share my sugar with them. I have cheerfully shared beer with wasps when I’ve eaten outside, though, putting it in a little dish just for them and lo and behold, they left everybody else to get on with their food in peace.

House or Window Flies
John Clare 1793 – 1864

These little window dwellers, in cottages and halls, were always entertaining to me; after dancing in the window all day from sunrise to sunset they would sip of the tea, drink of the beer, and eat of the sugar, and be welcome all summer long. They look like things of mind or fairies, and seem pleased or dull as the weather permits. In many clean cottages and genteel houses, they are allowed every liberty to creep, fly, or do as they like; and seldom or ever do wrong. In fact they are the small or dwarfish portion of our own family, and so many fairy familiars that we know and treat as one of ourselves.

And my ankle is much better, thank you for all the good wishes – the packet of frozen peas clearly did the job.

3 thoughts on “‘The Most Holy Expression of Spring’

  1. Kathleen

    I also enjoy Mark Cocker’s writing – I’m currently reading both ‘Claxton’ and ‘A Claxton Diary’, but since each book is set out with monthly extracts, I’m reading them both throughout the year, month by month, if that makes sense. He has some beautiful writing about hawthorn blossom this month.
    I also love John Clare’s poems and it’s great to see a prose piece too. He must have been someone who really noticed and appreciated the life around him. My mother was a botanist and we read two of his poems at her funeral. We visited his birthplace earlier in the year, John Clare cottage at Helpston – well worth a visit for anyone who can get there,
    Two wonderful writers.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Ah what a lovely idea – I do like a book that’s set out like a calendar. Did you have a look at the last Ronald Blythe? That’s organised by month too.


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