Tuesday 23 April 2013

doing the spring shift

There it goes again. Booooooooom! 4am, April 20. Bang on time. The bittern is back in the marshes. Gotta be spring out there, right? And yes, finally it is: bursting out of its cherry-plum celandine and alexander seams. I've been tracking it since we went to the woods down at Dunwich in March. First the honeysuckle, then the foxglove, then the odd blue veronica winking along the curb. We checked out wild daffodils on the tumulus and goat willow at East Hill and they were finally in their splendour. I saw my first bumblebee and first butterfly (tortoiseshell) and sat barefoot on the doorstep, prepping veg, face in the sun.

You think it means nothing a shift of season, but after this long, dark and bitter winter Spring feels like a reprieve. We're warm for the first time in months and a feeling of lightness and happiness is flooding the house. At our first Sustainable Bungay wellbeing walk a crew of us walked around Bungay on the first really great sunny day of the year, mapping the streets and green spaces. We met at the community garden and everyone shared their favourite places, the edges of carparks and rivers, the commons, certain streets, trees and  houses.

We set off to visit the now community-owned, Falcon Meadow and  the wonky colourful Bridge Street, once the main thoroughfare and site of the Halloween pumpkin festival. We exchanged our experiences and memories, knowledge about birds, trees, history, delighted at the texture of place - brick, flint, faded wood - the river, alleyways, benches, footpaths, the pattern language of our town and finally ended up at Bungay Tea Rooms, everyone's favourite cafe, where we sat in the garden with tea and chips.

The sun shone gloriously. We felt good. Not just in ourselves, but with each other. Life was harder for all of us, but treasuring the day and this town we share made it seem all right. We mapped out the walks we are going to do this summer too, including swimming down the river Waveney and holding our annual picnic by the shore. And then Mark and I did a manita de gata (cat's paw) tidy of the community garden and delighted in all the green shoots of the herbs and plants that made it through the dark and cold.

Right now in the garden under the budding greengage tree, the coldwater champion of England and fearless Transitioner, Lucy Neal, has established her caravan. We have begun work on the book, Playing for Time and each week over the summer she is coming to stay for three days and we are hammering out the Work in the tiny crucible. Here I am sorting out the hexagonal sections that make up the centre of the book: contributions from the artists, writers and practitioners who gathered at Lumb Bank. Lucy recently wrote about our experiences on the Arts Council blog here:


This week we are looking at each of those sections, starting with one that matters more than anything . .

Images: honeysuckle and foxglove in Dunwich Wood, March; arts, culture and wellbeing walk en route to Falcon Meadow, April; in Lucy's caravan; message to Mark at the wild daffodil tumulus!

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