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Saturday, 12 February 2011
Aconites and pearls
Considering acolytes, processing through the church or the streets of Walsingham, the glow of these aconites is delightfully wild. Something worth kneeling to see and photograph, in the grounds of the Abbey ruins.
There is nothing left of the Abbey, except the stigma of an East Window, open to the sky and woodland. The river winds through the woods, and then there is a dip through the gate and into the dell.
Do not go on a grey day, when bare trees will make you shiver, and disguise the glory in the dell. Go when early frost has melted, leaving a gleam on the grass and the transparent gleam of church windows.
Go on a day when the sun has risen over the broad East Anglian sky, and there is time to stand and stare - or if too chill to sit on strategically placed benches, at least bright enough to pause for a photograph. You will not find anywhere else in England that has such a snow flurry filling the vast dark sky of the earth... this is the place to visit snowdrops dripping as far as the eye can see.
And although the candle glow of aconites offer contrast, you are best visiting the Nazareth house at the shrine for candles. But for snowdrops, not even the Easter lilies in church can contend with this spectacle.
I would not like to make a guesstimate of the number of bulbs that hide all year in the woodland, although plenty of daffodil leaves were pointing through the earth, ready to give another gleaming display. You have to enter the grounds through the village museum, which is worth a look round. But go for the snowdrops, when you know they are in full bloom... there are paths in every direction, as far as the eye can see.
Indeed, if you see this scene at its very best, you will not be able to imagine any greater heaven in that moment. Not even in May, when the streets are packed with pilgrims.
Talking of flowers, what better way to celebrate Valentine's than by an unexpected bouquet of flowers - not on THE day, but an impulse buy: delicate pink tulips and stock, heady with scent. I couldn't tell you what the scent of snowdrops may or may not be - but the woodland was alive with sap, rising to the lighter evenings and the glory of spring.
But forget flowers, if you want to know a true sign of togetherness, as England considers St Valentine, just wait for the next Blog...