A peachy May morn
Standing on the heath edge, I am reminded of the round world, with it's
undulations, it's firm crust, velveted by vegetation, lush with new growth.
The trees, darker against the rapidly lightening air, host already
cheerfully singing birds, the blackbird, loud and strident, dominates them
all. As though the heath is breathing, puffs of cold air remind us that the
earth is still warming up after winter.
We stride up the paths to Parliament Hill. Sunrise is still half an hour
away. My companions describe the fan of peach light, emerging from a
striped grey sky which seems to frame the towers of the city stretching
below. STANDING on top of Parliament Hill, I throw back my head, open up my
lungs, and sing the evocation to the blackbird at sunrise. Lost in the act,
I belt it out for all it's worth, knowing that noone will complain!
My heart shifts. I am held by a sudden sense of joy and a gladness to be
alive, which has not always been with me, these last months of struggle with
pain. It's such a sense of relief. The Obby Oss dances, clearly catching
the moment, and so do I.
Cutting across the heathland, we pick our way over treacherous hidden holes,
step over water channels, skirt tuffetty protuberances until, via the wrong
hill, we stand beneath Buddicca's mount. Below us, the sky still peachy
pink in the east, lies the city, glittering. Red lights flicker their
warning a-top the concrete fingers reaching into the sky.
We make our Beltane wishes. The Oss dances with delight.
"Wisdom to the people of the UK in how they vote next week" we agree,
sending the wish forth into the sunrise, "so mote it be!".
Behind the city, beyond the clouds, The sun rises, heralded by an oranging
of light, though invisible beneath the white grey sky. The air warms as
evidence of it's presence.
"Hail the sun; hail the summer!"
There is nothing to do but to sing so uplifting is this moment. Our hymn to
the land cuts through the air. Though the heath seems empty, the geese,
ducks and the garden birds chirrup, tweet and hoot away, as they sing with
us. We sing of the sacred land, as the body of the goddess, who's secrets
reveal the beauty of the natural world.
"Do you know, it's not raining," we tell each other! In fact, the air is
dry; the heathland beneath our feet benignly easy to walk upon.
We set off on our procession across the heath, winding through wooded
areas, leaping small brooks, stepping carefully over treacherous boggy
places. We still have the heath to ourselves. voices entwine and chase
each other in a Round, extolling the beginning of summer, encouraging us to
"make a merry din", , which we do rather tunefully.
Kenwood Spring bubbles in it's white marble surround. I catch the faint
smell of iron, like blood, in the water. A cold wind blows, reminding us
that, though the sun has risen, it has yet to influence the temperature.
We sing and dance round the spring. We vow to never lose our way to the
well of Her memory as the fire of her living flame rises.
There are not enough gloves to go round. Thou it's may, it is still cold as
March in the early morning. I cup my hands round the cup of tea someone has
thoughtfully provided for this chilly moment.
Talking of cold, it's time for breakfast! We turn and retrace our steps.
Over in a nearby tree, the wood pigeons, the lazy-bones of the avion world,
begins to coo. The May is just coming out on southern sheltered hedges.
Small white and yellow flowers dot the heathland. All the trees present
newly unfurled tender leaves, their stretching branches, a safe haven for
The city comes to meet us; a howling of sirens, a rumble of heavy rail on
the Gospel Oak to Barking line and the persistent hum of early morning
traffic, reminds us of where we are. Other heath inhabitants seem mainly to
be held in a world of silence as they walk, plugged into their earphones.
Most, ignore our greeting of "Merry May". They turn their eyes away from
the strangeness of our little procession, headed as it is, by a prancing
As we leave the heath, I give silent thanks for this place of respite from
the teaming city frenzy, this green heart that is often my refuge from the
burdons and responsibilities of my life.
Hail the May, hail the morn! Hail the summer!"