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  • It's the season of hawthorns. Their blossom announces the spring. "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out" refers not to the month, but to the may flowers. May is an old name for hawthorn. In the old days people would decorate their houses with hawthorn blossom for May Day.

    An artist friend was commissioned to create an emblematic logo for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and she drew a twisted hawthorn. They grow in the most inhospitable spots. Winds batter them, storms thrash them, shallow soils deprive them of nutrients. So often they're stunted and misshapen, but that only improves their aesthetic appeal.

    Like hawthorns, many of the finest people I know have been nurtured in unpromising environments, and like the hawthorns, it has only made them more beautiful.

    Photo taken in the Hole of Horcum, North Yorkshire.
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