Out on the cliffs last week I couldn’t help but notice that new clumps of the evergreen leaves of the Sea Pinks (or Thrift) were swelling on the ditches. There is something very satisfying about this bulbous carpet of greenery. Maybe it is because it signifies the end of the coldest and the darkest season of the year.
It will be a little while before the flowers are out but there is something plush and expansive about this greenery coming after the miserliness of winter. In the way flock wallpaper asks to be rubbed and fat sofas demand to be sunk into, the generous, rounded shape is compelling. It is the boom of spring after the deep chill of recession.
It could be the inexorable nature of Thrifts annual march over the coast or the rotundity of the compact cushions of greenery but I am also reminded of the Tribbles in the episode of the original Star Trek. Maybe that’s just me.
The colours too are gorgeous with the older dustier purple clumps offsetting the fresh rambunctious green of the newer growth against the powdery ochre of the clay in a most delicious way.
I call them Sea Pinks but I like the other name too. Thrift. A word whose meaning is at odds with the theme of expansiveness but the sound of which echoes the word ‘drift’ which for me conjures images of the South of France in early Summer when the apple blossoms drift through the mellow light of a dusty evening square and the clack of boules and the clink of pastis glasses speak of not only the warmth of the sun but of companionship and timelessness as well.
Drifts of snow are called to mind too but a snowfall of flowers that echoes only the gentleness of falling snowflakes not the freezing hardship of a snow storm and which heralds warmth and life rather than freezing torpidity.
And so it is with a lighter heart I walk the cliffs because, though the future may be an uncertain thing, I see that like every other year the greenery is on the march, creeping inexorably over the old stone walls of the Irish coast, a gentle army that softens and absorbs rather than conquers and soon the fields and ditches will be powdered with the bobbing heads of this pretty little flower and the party will be in full swing. When I see them fluttering the breeze I can even imagine them giggling…
“Come on!Spring is here! Dance with us!”
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