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English country path

“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 own 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 moor-hen; 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”.

Richard Jefferies, The Open Air

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