May Day

Behind our farmhouse, wild geraniums grow like spiny creatures from the walls that edge the track. In the wind they have lost some of their crimson pink petals. Those that fell a while ago have dried to a deep mauve, a withered reflection of their former selves above them.

I stand and look out across our farmland, where the cows lay in the morning sun and the ponies graze.

Scilly is so quiet at the moment, an almost deafening hush. No planes, no boats, no chattering visitors striding along. Only the sounds of nature and the occasional gentle human movement. A tap tap, snap snap sounds draws my eye to a speckled-bellied thrush as he devours a snail for breakfast.

The recent rain has created a world of lush and vigorous spring growth. As I walk the field edges around the tracks of our farm, the vibrant sunshine casts deep, succulent shadows, damp and cool. Moving from light to dark to light, my eyes struggle to adjust to such opposing ends of the spectrum.

Ferns grow bolt upright, green and tall, proudly unfurling young spiral foliage.

May is so full of spring colour and fresh new life, it gives your day a joyful, optimism. The dancing bells of blue and white, the red campion and whistling jacks bring bursts of spring. May Day is normally a big celebration on Scilly. The school children dress up, dance the maypole, perform speeches and poems and we all eat cake. It has to be different this year, but so many islanders have celebrated May Day in their own way, with all the love of nature, new life and regrowth that it remembers, which feels even more poignant his year.

Our teddies helped us with the dancing this year.

My swim this morning was a fresh and invigorating one. The green sea felt alive. Bristling with energy as it slapped itself onto the sand and rocks in bubbling glassy foam.

Every colour was crisp and bright. The sea was persistant in its enchroach upon the beach. The lifeless twisted heaps of thongweed, oyster thief and sea lettuce awaited the water to lift and swirl them back into being; to dance a frantic ballet in the swell.

Dark sea moves like great whales beneath the clouds that cast their shifting shadows.

As I swim along the shoreline, two oyster catchers stand, feet in the lacy white tideline. One with orange beak tucked under cloak-like black wing, the other alert like a sentinel on lookout. I must have swum too close as they both lift up in synconised flight, pewing their echoing call. Flashes of black and white skimming the green sea.

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