方禮倫:The Magic in the Air 季節更迭

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圖片來源:路透社

On the 28th March the clocks move forward. The days, already warmer and brighter in the spring sunshine, will feel longer. Sunset will be at 7:30pm.

March is a transformative month. It begins in winter’s embrace and ends firmly in spring. Cold, dark mornings give way to bright young days touched by the promise of summer warmth.(註 1)

In the garden, early flowering white and yellow daffodils are joined by a chorus of colour. Hyacinths soon join tulips, primroses and hellebores in bloom. Cherry trees are transformed into gentle clouds of delicate white and pink blossoms. And by the garage, a weeping cherry tree, that had three weeks prior loomed menacingly overhead like a great dark hand, now seems light and languid and is covered in little white flowers.(註 2)

Lawns that were dull and dormant are now flush with life. Delicate spring flowers appear in clusters of whites, blues and violets among tender new green shoots. And across the village, the return of life is heralded by the gentle hum of distant lawnmowers.

It is in March when spirits lifts with the promise of a new year. Each morning, when I draw open the bedroom curtains, I see the climbing roses on the wall just below the window sill stretching out that little further towards a warming sky. I imagine the beautiful yellow, read and pink blooms that will begin to greet me in the coming weeks, and which will bloom in magnificent waves through to autumn.(註 3)

It is a time to weed, but also to sow. Trays of seedling line the greenhouse. Joining our staple of tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines will be mooli, or Chinese turnip. It is my favourite vegetable, essential in hot pots, bowls of noodles and, of course, in turnip cake. In a few weeks, once they have seeded, I’ll transplant them to raised beds where I hope they will grow large and plump.

It is also time to begin planning hanging baskets. For trailers we have lobelia and ivy. And this year we will be setting aside a few baskets for growing strawberries. I have never grown strawberries this way, but I hear it works well, and strawberries have lovely little flowers too.

March is also the month to return to the rose garden. Rose bushes, cut back last November to wooden stumps, are now covered in new growth. The beds, once weeded, will be covered in wood chipping to help with moisture retention over the summer and to keep weeds away.

This year the transformation in March has an added significance. Britain has been hard hit by Covid-19. From a high of over 60,000 cases and over a thousand of deaths daily in early January, by the start of March cases had dropped to under 6,000 and less than a hundred deaths. Bottled up since November, March was the month when lockdown restrictions began easing.

Schools restarted on the 8th. From the 29th groups of six can meet outdoors, and outdoor sporting facilities reopened. These are small steps, but being able to meet with friends does much to ease the burden of living in this time of pandemic. It is lonely without the company of those we love.

March has meant a return to farm shops and garden centres. A return to river walks across the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. With tearooms open only for takeaway service, we’ve had to take our drinks, scones and a slice of cake with us. But there are always plenty of places to picnic. At the start of March the meadows were still flooded from the winter rains. By the end of March they had returned to being a little patch of paradise, if still a little chilly when the sun isn’t shining.

April, May and June will be better. The days will continue to get longer, and the sun will shine ever more brightly. More flowers will bloom and nature will begin to share her abundant harvest. Fields of rapeseed will turn yellow, adding to the beautiful patchwork of a distinctly English countryside.

But most uplifting of all is the promise of seeing friends and family. How different it all seemed at the beginning of March. There’s magic in the air at this time of year.(註 4)

陶傑點評

移民英國的生活如何?最主要是從頭認識何謂生活。在香港,社會文化不同,身為一個金錢城市,節奏緊張,幾代的香港人,從前又是難民來此寄居。香港人的基因,有沒有發覺,只善於如何「生存」(Survive),而不知如何「生活」(Live)?

英國的生活空間廣闊,人口密度低,人與自然相處,有時多於人與人之間的交際。住在英國,可以從頭學習何謂生活。生活的本源,由認識和欣賞生命開始。

1.

作者向大家介紹,英國的 3 月,在季節上,另有一種獨特的性格。3 月是一個由冬天過渡到春天的月份,3 月之後,氣候特徵會由「日短夜長」逐漸進入「日長夜短」,是英國氣候的陰陽界。

文章這樣開頭,就將作者對季節的獨特感覺呈現出來。

2.

作者喜歡園藝,因此對花卉的感覺很細。香港很多人自稱英文很好,對英文的詞彙涉獵甚廣,但是各種花草的英文詞彙,你又認識多少呢?例如,除了廣為人知的玫瑰(Rose)及鬱金香(Tulips),還有以下花種:

  • balsam 鳳仙花
  • canna 美人蕉
  • lily 百合花
  • jasmine 茉莉
  • sunflower 向日葵
  • morning-glory 牽牛花
  • cosmos 大波斯菊
  • pansy 三色堇
  • poppy 罌粟花
  • marigold 金盞花
  • carnation 麝香石竹
  • dahlia 大麗花
  • pink 石竹花
  • crocus 番紅花
  • iris 蝴蝶花
  • hyacinth 風信子

Primroses 是報春花。倫敦有一個地區叫 Primrose Hill,樓價不便宜。香港也有一個豪宅樓盤,英文同一名字,中文叫做「縉庭山」,卻與花朵無關。

3.

作者筆下的色彩豐富。採用的英文也很靈活:blooming in magnificent waves —— magnificent 這個形容詞,與波浪配搭,別有氣象。英文寫得好的人,會在廣博的英文詞彙之中選擇形容詞和名詞,自由配對,猶如繪畫,在調色板上用 12 種顏色調出萬紫千紅。

4.

最後的段落,筆鋒一轉,由自然的描寫,提升到人文的層次。3 月的來臨,是人生另一個階段的開始。季節的更迭,就這樣年復一年,美好的生活在這裡,你懷念的人在遠方。

陶傑英文遊花園

香港和台灣,面臨世紀的變局。海外華人居住西方國家,也數目龐大。如何提升英文程度,克服文化隔閡,加強英文能力,在亂世中至關重要。

許多華人都有合理的職業或專業的英文程度,但如何在原有的中學文法訓練基礎之上,探討高層次的英語文化和表達方式,以備融入英語世界主流社會?

本欄介紹評析欣賞英文的寫作細節,分享經驗,歡迎提出不同的評析角度和心得。

※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※
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方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。