north light

words and pictures

Hedgerow Memories

Water Avens.

Greater Stitchwort.

Dog Violet.

Herb Robert.

Wood Sorrel.

Tufted Vetch.

Red Campion.

Lesser Celandine.

Somebody mentioned to me recently that it is not just the hedgerow flowers that are beautiful, not just their photographs that move us, but something about the names that speaks to us, that connects us with something inside.

Something evocative.

Something that reminds us, or calls to us, or grounds us.

It’s strange.

To me, like most of us (I guess), the names of these flowers are not familiar.

I need to learn, year after (painful) year, what a flower is, what name it goes by.

I have some hazy recollections of being taught a few flower names as a child.

One happy memory of walking on the moor with my granny in Skye, being shown the wildflowers, and told their Gaelic names, but of course I cannot remember the details now, just the moment, just the feeling of being taught something important.

It frustrates me, this lack of knowledge, this lack of such basic literacy, and yet still I am aware that at some level I do know, and I do remember.

Ever since I came to this neck of the woods I’ve had the feeling that this landscape and in particular these hedgerows were reminding me of something.

They’re lush, wild, and unspoilt.

They’re what I remember from something I never knew, but know from somewhere else.

I’m not sure if that’s from paintings, or books, or childhood stories, or the enchanted woods I disappeared into when I was little through the pages of Enid Blyton books.

Or if it is something deeper, and longer ago than that.

I read something by Helen Keller today that made me wonder about this further:

Each individual has a subconscious memory of the green earth and murmuring waters, and blindness and deafness cannot rob him of this gift from past generations. This inherited capacity is a sort of sixth sense – a soul sense, which sees, hears and feels, all in one.

I don’t know what the answer is.

But I do know this: that over and over, the hedgerows are reminding me.

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