Morris dancing and green places beckoning: York in May

Morris dancers Hurrah, it’s May, and there’s morris dancing happening. Here’s a photo of some morris dancing in King’s Square last May.

I hope to see some later today. I’ve left it a bit late to mention, as I’ve only just found out about it myself, but Ebor Morris are as I write walking round the walls and dancing at various points en route. And drinking beer at various points too, judging by this fabulous sketch (PDF) on their website.

There’s more info on that map, and on their events page, and also on the Press website, which contains a comment that made me smile, from member Tony Fenech:

“The traditional thing to do is get up at the crack of dawn and go out into the hills. We tried that once and didn’t like it”

If you miss it today, their events page also says they’ll be performing in King’s Square on Monday evenings beginning later this month.

If you can’t get to any of that, here’s a couple of snippets of how it sounded last springtime. Have a listen, it’s very cheering.

Apologies for the poor quality, but these were recorded on my phone.

Springtime is also of course about everything greening up and burgeoning and blossoming. As previously mentioned, I found to my distress that the beautiful trees near the walls by the Minster have been removed. A couple of weeks ago I cycled through Clifton Park in search of proper unmolested trees, remembered trees. Still there.

New leaves

Copper beech, Clifton Park, 18 April 2014

And on the road back, horse chestnut trees. Hurrah for their green loveliness.

Tree, sunlit leaves

Horse chestnut tree, Clifton Park, 18 April 2014

Inside the walls we’re chopping down trees at a depressing rate, but beyond the walls are many beautiful green places, looking their best just now. See links below, and get out there and enjoy them, if you’re not already.

This time of year I always think of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, its descriptions of the natural world and its lushness at this time of the year, as spring moves towards the summer solstice. Many years ago I knew it so well I could have quoted large chunks of it, memorised for my A’level exams. Now, thankfully, I have Google, and the Project Gutenberg e-text:

“A particularly fine spring came round, and the stir of germination was almost audible in the buds; it moved her, as it moved the wild animals, and made her passionate to go.”

“On a thyme-scented, bird-hatching morning in May”

“Either the change in the quality of the air from heavy to light, or the sense of being amid new scenes where there were no invidious eyes upon her, sent up her spirits wonderfully. Her hopes mingled with the sunshine in an ideal photosphere which surrounded her as she bounded along against the soft south wind. She heard a pleasant voice in every breeze, and in every bird’s note seemed to lurk a joy.”

“The irresistible, universal, automatic tendency to find sweet pleasure somewhere, which pervades all life, from the meanest to the highest”

So, as the leaves green up and there’s dancing in the streets, I hope you all find joy and pleasure somewhere.

It’s best found in green places, and here’s a handy list, compiled by Mick Phythian:

Index to websites on York’s green places

See also: the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows website

And a few photos from this time last year, on this site: Unfurling leaves and blossoming branches

About Lisa @YorkStories

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