Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Darling Buds of May

Hawthorn or May Tree
When I was a kid the view from my bedroom window was of a rural scene. At the bottom of the garden which my father cultivated with vegetables there was an expansive meadow. On the far side there was a brook that was hedged in by a miscellany of bushes and small trees. Halfway between an orchard where the brook turned to the south and a wooden pedestrian bridge further to the south, there was a ford where cows could lap cool, clear water.  Right next to this haven of refreshment for the herd there was a most wonderful May Tree that never failed to blossom in the month of May.

The tree was nothing more than a Common Hawthorn, but it was impregnable, being one of the few trees I could not climb because of long vicious thorns protecting it from my advance. Even cows kept clear of it, but it was magnificent when in bloom. I can't remember the tree blossoming as early as March, and yet this has become more common for Hawthorns in present times, perhaps due in part to there being a general trend towards warmer winters leading to warmer springs – this year bucking the trend.

Because of recent cold weather I am surprised how buds are pressing forth from greenery in my garden, and I am reminded that spring can’t be all that far away, despite snow flurries throughout the day. The phrase, ‘The darling buds of May’, came to mind; May being the May Tree, rather than the month of May.

How I would love to see that cherished May Tree of my youth; the beautiful tree that confirmed it was nearly time to, ‘Cast a clout when May is out’.


The Darling Buds of May

The Darling Buds of May

H. E. Bates

Hawthorn (May Tree)

Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn)

The Worship of Trees - Hawthorn

Never Cast a Clout Until May Is Out

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