Up Cripden Down (England)

English bluebells, Dartmoor
English bluebells, Dartmoor

We knew they’d be here. Up on Cripden Down, Dartmoor, England: fields of English bluebells. In bluebell woods, pixies might lure you from the path, but on the open moor, bracken—a thug of a native fern—breaks the sea of blue and presumably distracts the pixies.

English bluebell
English bluebell

We walked past cows and calves, sheep and lambs, hawthorn blossoms, wildflowers in the turf and hedges. We heard a far cuckoo, flushed nesting meadow pipits, and got rained on. In other words, a perfect moor hike.

Part of our joy at the miraculous bluebells is a bonus measure on behalf of two friends who are no longer here, though their ancient cottage still is, just below these very fields. In the old days, we would have slid straight down for a post-bluebell breather: Clem would complain that no film could capture bluebell blue, Margaret would spread an oak table with my favorites: jam tarts, Victoria sponge and hot, milky supermarket tea. Every summer. We were pixie-led and we loved it.

The older I get, the more every moment seems a combo of Then and Now.

Bowerman's Nose and Cripden Down
The gray mist on the far hill is bluebell blue. The tiny cottage under it was where the pixies always led us.

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