Saturday, 3 April 2010
Easter snow, march hares, hunting dogs and spring flowers
Mind skittering this evening, after slow journey north to Scotland. Flight grounded at Heathrow (smoke in the air traffic control tower), delayed departure, but finally up and away through the clouds, then descent to Aberdeenshire afternoon. Snow thick on the lawn at Tillypronie, and even deeper in the woods; I sank in drifts, but felt uplifted, even so, by the bravery of spring. The dog gamboled like a puppy, despite his greying beard and recent status as a grandfather, beside the sculpture spaniels (by Helen Denerley). There are snow-drops in the garden, and little clusters of daffodils; the wisteria is just beginning to bud, and the roses are turning green at their furthest tips. I admired the blossom at the side of the house, and mourned the broken-branched azaleas (crushed by weeks of ice and heavy snow).
Then I went in search of mountain hares, remembering the first time I came here, last summer, and saw one running across the hill, which seemed to me to be a good omen. A multitude of pigeons today, and a long parade of ducks, paddling across the pond and then home through a field of snow; two Highland calves; one white pony; half a dozen pheasants, and a great many intriguing paw prints, disappearing through the trees, into a Narnian wild wood. But no hares, as yet. So I returned to the house for dry socks and hot tea and ginger biscuits; thus fortified, went roaming through the book shelves (virtual and real) to search for hares. The March Hare popped up as a guest at the tea party in 'Alice in Wonderland' -- madder, wilder than the white rabbit; and then I set off in pursuit of T.S.Eliot's 'Inventions of the March Hare'. Of which more later, as now it is time for dinner...