In a world – even a small world, or one from a particular viewpoint, or taken at a distance – crammed with wonders, it’s inevitable that much gets overlooked when the showy, glorious and sunbathed enter the stage.
I’d already walked past the stubbly, rocky verge on my way to the view point across the floodplain (and there, saw a Red Kite, a calligrapher’s frill written across the sky), and failed to find anything of note.
But returning, I looked down and splashed across the broken concrete was a burst of light. Stonecrop, tiny yellow flowers, also known as Sedum acre, cast across the pebbly ground like discarded mats. The flowers are beautiful, but very small, starry lemon-bright explosions, mostly of five petals, they’re pressed together with bright splendour. Not that I knew the name then, hopelessly I needed to research it.
And there I stayed for a while, looking not just at these tiny flowers but others all within a few feet. Because I never really take notice of wildflowers and I felt all of a sudden that if the 30 Days Wild project is about anything, it ought to be about learning.
Speedwell I know, easily one of the smallest and most delicate blooms, and just look at it, isn’t it heroically lovely in its smallness?
But there were others. Campion, which I’m particularly embarrassed about. I’d always assumed it was pink (well, Red Campion), but no, it’s white too. And I had to look that up also. Michel Desfayes’s amazing list of dialectal names for flowers says that in Lancashire it’s known as Lousy Soldiers Buttons. Which is as fine and wonderful a how do you do as I can imagine.
And then Alkanet, or Eyebright, a slight, petite thing overfilled with the biggest and most exquisite sapphire blue. Lesson happily learned: don’t overlook. Wonders. Wonders.