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Landscape (UK) - - Contents - Rachel Hawkins Edi­tor

MAY IS AN en­tic­ing month, of­fer­ing enough warmth to spend whole days out­doors. I often wake early, ea­ger to en­joy ev­ery minute of the longer days, now bring­ing more than 16 hours of sun­light. My favourite walk is along the river near my home, watch­ing the fa­mil­iar rou­tines of mal­lards as they dab­ble along the banks, now with duck­lings fol­low­ing along in a neatly spaced line. I smile at the spo­radic move­ments of young moorhens as they skit across the wa­ter, re­spond­ing to the char­ac­ter­is­tic squeak of their mother’s call. Un­til now, I could be sure of spot­ting a king­fisher, its cyan and orange plumage bright against a muted back­drop. But as the bur­geon­ing river­banks ob­scure my view, with the sharp growth of irises and pro­tec­tive clumps of reeds, sight­ings are much less fre­quent. This awak­en­ing of na­ture seems most no­tice­able in May. Progress is gen­tle through March and April, but May pos­i­tively gal­lops to­wards sum­mer. Froth­ing with clouds of cow pars­ley and May­bush blos­som, no other month bub­bles with such ex­u­ber­ance. Mim­ick­ing na­ture’s en­ergy, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are celebrating the sea­son in high spir­its. May Queens are be­ing crowned; chil­dren grasp­ing the ends of coloured rib­bons skip around a may­pole, and men dressed in knicker­bock­ers and waist­coats dance in time-hon­oured pat­terns, en­er­get­i­cally tap­ping out rhythms with clogs and bells. As May cheer­fully dances on, I can­not help but be car­ried along in its in­tox­i­cat­ing progress to­wards sum­mer…

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