In Lathkill Dale
Maybe it's the time of day - I hope it's the time of day - but here in bright sunshine, under a bright sky, on the bright flowering edge of summer, butterflies are in woeful supply. Whites, brimstones, orange tips have all fluttered by but so occasionally that two tortoiseshells count as a triumph, and I cheer and wave and dance a quick "returning butterfly" dance. After two miles of walking and wandering, and failing to photograph trout in the cold clear limestone waters of Lathkill Dale, I've still only got a handful of bees, even with a bee-fly to boost the numbers a bit. From stream bank to wide sweeps of rough flower meadows to field edge and dappled woodland with the hawthorn out and the wayfaring trees, I hover in anticipation and am left feeling forlorn.
Eventually, on the way back to the car, a stand of pale blue comfrey almost saves the day and moves me from fingers to toes but even then, that's it. No more.
Maybe it's the season and I am still a bit early, but here. Here? Here! In the depths of a NNR, surrounded by flowers, warming into a rich day in the early afternoon. O, I hope it is the moment and not the whole a pattern because this should be a haven
A Spell For The Dale
By burdock and butterbur and the weir that holds the stream,
By flood-coppiced elder and fugitive elm,
By the red-bark of the wayfaring tree
And the rose who climbs the hawthorn,
By bladder campion and red, and forget-me-nots
Reflecting the sky without clouds.
By rabbit and hare and the returning otters,
By lime-cave and lime kiln and
the troll-home well of Bateman's House,
By fossils in the walls and moss on the ruined mill.
With rooks in the rafters and chipping titmice in the bushes,
With coots in the rushes and a kohl-lined teal looking for her drake,
With trout in the shadows and crayfish under rocks.
We call the dipper to the stone,
And the vole to the pool,
And the traveller to peace
Useful link for moments of bees: