I’ve just returned from a cross country car journey. The countryside is looking gorgeous. Every verge and field-boundary is frothed with cow parsley. Every roundabout decorated by ox-eye-daisies and buttercups. Bright flashes of mustard-yellow charlock and campion in neon-pink light up the scene against the freshest of greens.
I felt a sense of delight in all this beauty, but the delight is strangely tainted by melancholy. I am not the only person who finds ‘cow-parsley-time’ oddly depressing. Why? It seems all the more perverse since I have been longing for May all through the Winter.
Perhaps it is the evanescence of the scene. The knowledge that it is so fleeting: look away momentarily and it is gone until next year. The light, careless joy of youth soon moves into the comfortable roundness of middle age, to be followed by the autumn leaves, drifting…
Robert Herrick summed it up: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…”