A Sunny Afternoon in March



One sunny afternoon in March, and I am yet again sitting in a field – this time by a narrow shallow slow moving stream – in this rural England that I love. Yet, even here so sad to say, the rumble of traffic, miles distant, can be heard, as one Homo Hubris after another trundles on in such a trundling life as becomes them.

Here – only the Frog, still, there on the bottom of the stream, unmoving as I for ten minutes. Here – a Skylark, rising, singing. Here – a blue sky as the morning dull cloud broke to leave shuffling Cumulus which brest the distant hill in my South. Here – a hay meadow where life grows as it grows: now with wild Primrose by the hedge and Daises rising, opening, in the grass soon to be home to the so many wild flowers of late English Spring…

Yesterday I remember so well how I came down from a walk in the hills alone having stood to watch the Dawn Hour where beautiful patterns of colour became transformed almost minute by minute: a dark narrow band of altocumulus above the eastern horizon behind which was another higher band of thinner cloud with the yet-to-rise Sun scintillating their colour, edge to edge, from magenta to English Rose-red to crimson to Roman-purple while, around, a banded sky of azure, violet and early-morn-blue changed as it changed, slowly, as if in rhythm with the growing light… So much beauty, to softly, gently bring a crying as one cries silent when so much life, so much belonging, touches to stilly touch that deeper-being, within.

Yes, I remember how, there on that narrow summit bounded by hedge, tree, bush, I had stood, leaning on my stick, as the birds around sang – Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Thrush… There had been an Owl, hooting, as I walked up the narrow wooded path in the almost-dark before Dawn Hour; some rustling in trees nearby as wild Deer, startled by bearded man, moved as they moved, away. I remember how, on my return, I emerged from the narrow path – there an old Roman road – to stand before the modern road which bisects the village, and it was as if I had entered another, strangeling, world, not quite human.

Gone – the slow natural quietness of Nature. Gone – the changing lights and that sense of belonging. Gone – the sacred stillness of so much beauty. Instead – cars, fastly moving in their haste and their noise. Not for their denizens, hunched, the taste of early morning English Spring-March air; not for them the song of birds as the Dawn Chorus, numinous, builds as it builds in March, beyond a now passed bleak-dark Winter. Not for them – the hunched, eyes-fixated – the slow natural walking rhythm of a natural walking life where one can through slowness watch the light growing in that wondrous Dawn Hour on a clear day before the Sun, bringer of Life, breaks forth over the horizon where we dwell, knowing thus our fated fragile smallness.

So, yes, I remember how I felt, yet again, then – feeling I do not belong to the modern world with its noise, denizens, speed and lifeless abstract urban concerns. And yet – and yet, that world is so eagerly, so earnestly, encroaching upon, destroying, my world where I, reclusive, dwell within my silence. So I sigh, to see the green Frog move to rise, slowly, to fill itself once more with air here where one field is one cosmos, observed.

DW Myatt

( Taken from Selected Letters, Part One )