The Faery Year

Listening to the hysterical news reports of our current snow-blanket, one might think we had entered a new Ice Age. But this too shall pass. As far as I recall, there are such things as seasons. For a sense of perspective, let us turn to George A B Dewar :

“At the acme of the year, days of great June with its clouds of endless forms and phantasies, wisp, stipple and fleece of cirrus and cirrostratus, snow mountains of cumulus; July with sorceries of silence and the scented breath of its eve, with its strange dance of ghost moths at dusk, when Capella is flashing intensely out of the afterglow and the gold taper of Mars is alight in the awful blue; August knee-deep in the copse grasses with yellow-hammer days; autumn with its golden-haired larches; winter with a wine-coloured withy wood by the estuary, and the ghost-like earth-cloud, stratus, creeping over the darkening marsh or heath; and at the same seasons the whirling columns of winter-gnats and the glittering gossamer weighted with rainbow dewdrops. Then there is the faery year of our English birds : spiral evolution of linnets in the frosty skies, loop of the rooks going home to rest, a flock of starlings in autumn black-budding the ash tree a field away, swans angel white clipt out on the leaden lake, thrushes singing like mad in the grey stormy March dawn.”

It is surprising, perhaps, to find that an English nature writer in the first decade of the last century was some kind of proto-Stalinist, but then there is this :

“The right enjoyment and study of these things must make men and women happier, completer in understanding in taste and eye, and therefore better members of the State.”

Quotes from the prefatory note to The Faery Year by George A B Dewar (1906)

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