PARAPHRASING WORDSWORTH

Milan, 26 February 2020

updated 29 February 2020

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

Except that, contrary to William Wordsworth, I wasn’t lonely as a cloud, I was with my wife, and it wasn’t daffodils that I saw crowded on the hillside but primroses. My wife and I were finishing the last stage of the Traveler’s Trail along Lake Como when we turned a corner and found before us this star-burst of yellow.

my photo

True to their name — prim-rose; first “rose”, or flower — the primroses have been one of the first flowers to burst out of their winter hibernation into this Year of Our Lord 2020. They have been a constant companion along the paths we have travelled these last days of February, coming up through the forest floor litter of last year.

My photo

But it is not only them which have been keeping us company. For every primrose we have seen, it seems there has been a small purple flower close by. A few minutes after seeing that crowd of primroses, we saw a heavy sprinkling of these purple flowers along the side of the path.

My photo

Some investigation on my part has revealed that they are liverworts. They are so small that I had to crouch down low to get this picture, with my old bones protesting all the while.

My photo

We have seen them showing off hues ranging from this violet to washed-out jeans-blue.

Nature, slowly coming alive again, has continued to give. Today, as we travelled a trail from Como which wends its way through the woods north of the town, we came across a few bunches of this flower.

My photo

My internet searches failed to come up with a name for this lovely green flower with yellow pistils. Luckily, however, my initial plea for help led one helpful reader to point out that I had another hellebore on my hands, the helleborus viridis, or green hellebore (I happen to have written about the black hellebore in my previous post).  This flower hangs its head modestly on its stalk, so to get this picture I had to lie down on the path – I must confess to having had difficulties getting back up; luckily, my wife was at hand …

A little further, we came across another tiny purple flower. For a moment, I thought it was a liverwort, but on closer inspection I concluded that it was a violet.

my photo

And a little further on, we came across a white version of this same flower.

my photo

And now, riding back on the train to Milan, writing this up, I think I can say about all these flowers, paraphrasing Wordsworth (and severely harming his rhythm in the process), that

“… when on my couch I will lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They will flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure will fill,
And dance with the primroses, liverworts, violets, and green hellebores” .

Published by

Abellio

I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

2 thoughts on “PARAPHRASING WORDSWORTH”

  1. Hello Abellio,

    Hmmm … remember your last post? Your green flower looks rather like a helleborus, a flower much beloved by me despite my never having seen them in the wild. Some varietals flower off leafless stalks, apparently, but I can’t help you further. It seems you are tripping over them these days!

    Happy wandering!
    Pipistrello

    Like

    1. Hi Pipistrello,

      By gum, you’re right! I’ve checked back at the pictures of other hellebores which I might find in the Italian pre-Alps and helleborus viridis, green hellebore, fits exactly what I saw. I have made the necessary changes to the post.

      Thanks again!
      Abellio

      Like

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