Country diary: a grasshopper in the sun shows me the way

Country diary: a grasshopper in the sun shows me the way

Wardlow, Derbyshire: The clues amid a rich bank of flowers are beguiling as I search out the treasure I’ve come to find

If you’re given a treasure map, you feel some obligation to follow it – especially when the treasure is a rare flower and the map’s clues are so beguiling. That’s how I found myself in the fresh early morning, following a dry valley uphill, ignoring a cart track as advised, stepping across a broken fence and passing through a thick stand of hawthorn, where I paused and looked for an unlikely detail: a wooden step in a dry-stone wall.

Beyond that was a cliff, and in between me and the void, a rich bank of flowers: St John’s wort and sweetbriar roses, knapweed and spear thistle, a gaudy meadow pea and wild privet, pink-tinged yarrow and the deeper pink of oregano. A treasure chest, but not the jewel I was looking for. There were larks singing at my back and song thrushes far below, their bubble of music rising up from woods still hidden in shadow at the base of the crag. I eased closer to the edge, since that’s where so much of the world seems to be these days, and scanned the ground: nothing.

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