15 Jan 2012

Country Roads

Excerpt from Wild Flowers by Richard Jefferies

A friend said: 'Why do you go the same road every day?  Why not have a change and walk somewhere else sometimes?  Why keep on up and down the same place?' I could not answer; till then it had not occurred to me that I did always go one way; as for the reason of it I could not tell; I continued in my old mind while the summers went away.

Not till years afterwards was I able to see why I went the same round and did not care for change.  I do not want change; I want the same old and loved things, the same wild flowers, the same trees and soft ash-green; the turtle-doves, the blackbirds, the coloured yellow-hammer sing, sing, singing so long as there is light to cast a shadow on the dial, for such is the measure of his song, and I want them in the same place.

Let me find them morning after morning, the starry-white petals radiating, striving upwards to their ideal.  Let me see the idle shadows resting on the white dust; let me hear the humble-bees, and stay to look down on the rich dandelion disk.

Let me see the very thistles opening their great crowns - I should miss the thistles;

the reed grasses hiding the moorhen;

the bryony bine, at first crudely ambitious and lifted by force of youthful sap straight above the hedgerow to sink of its own weight presently and progress with crafty tendrils;

 swifts shot through the air with outstretched wings like crescent-headed shaftless arrows darted from the clouds;

the chaffinch with a feather in her bill;

all the living staircase of the spring, step by step, upwards to the great gallery of the summer - let me watch the same succession year by year.

All photos courtesy of Google


  1. I know just what Jefferies means! I do have four different walks but three of them are on Blackamoor just taking different paths. I know where to look for violets and coltsfoot and harebells and where I shall hear the cuckoo calling. Lovely photos illustrating this piece too.

  2. Don't I wish I could write like that...
    You have chosen some very suitable photos to illustrate the words too. I haven't seen a Yellowhammer in ages. We used to see a lot of them amongst the gorse on the moors in Cornwall where I lived as a boy.

  3. I love R.J's writing,we have a beautiful book of his in the library were I work.I often read bits of it when I am shelving !!!!

  4. What wonderful, perceptive writing! Even though it is exciting to experience new places it is the old, familiar, remembered places and routes that inspire the most:)

  5. What a delightful post and pictures! Flighty xx


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