Jane V. Adams – Mercury Rising

Jane is a naturalist, photographer and nature writer living in Dorset. Her work has appeared in books, anthologies and blogs for charities such as The Wildlife Trusts and the International Bee Research Association. When she’s not exploring Dorset’s lanes and countryside she can be found lying on her stomach watching insects in her garden. Jane is currently studying for an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University and can be found: www.janevadams.com and on Twitter @WildlifeStuff Jane’s previous Guest Blogs here can be found here.

Pollen-filled catkins flow onto the lane as a great tit swims through hazel twigs in pursuit of his mate; his wolf-whistles cut strips in the warming air. The atmosphere is charged. Mercury is rising, jolting the countryside back to life after the hiatus of winter.

Climbing the bank separating Knoll Lane from Atwell’s Copse, the woodland floor beyond quivers, grey green. Soon, the wood will expand with the vanilla scent of wild daffodils, but for now masts with transparent spathes hold buds closed above the sea of leaves. 

Resting against the ridges of a boundary oak, a blackbird practises a tune nearby. He doesn’t know all the words yet, and repeats the verses under his breath, wanting to let rip, to serenade, but frustrated by his own uncertainty. He runs the length of a fallen birch, pauses, then remembers what he should have been doing all along, hops down and throws dead leaves left and right, right and left, hunting for invertebrates.

Then I notice the lesser celandine.

… the first moment that the sun may shine, bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!”.

Was Wordsworth in a wood like this when he spotted the same buttered star-shaped petals? He loved this flower more than the ‘golden daffodils’ that brought him fame, yet his celandine poems stayed as unnoticed as the bloom.

My flower bounces under the weight of a visiting honeybee, her legs already laden with gold. I proffer my finger, and she’s lured by the heat of my skin to sit awhile and groom.

Scraping stray pollen from her hairy eyes with even hairier legs, there’s a ripple of transference from front legs, middle legs then back, before grains are squeezed with precision into baskets on her thighs.

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