It has been a hard couple of months. The world seems stressed, tormented, and too full of complications. But despite the news-reels full of youth stabbings, Brexit arguments, terrorism, and destructive land use, outside my back door nature continues her yearly cycle undeterred. Well, continues as best she can. March winds kept the migrant birds such as chiffchaff from our hedgerows for a week or so longer than I expected, and I feared for a moment they’d not return at all. When they did return I felt mixed emotions; where would they nest, and what insect life would they be able to find in our battered countryside to feed their young? Nonetheless, when the first chiffchaff song of the year filtered to my ears from the scrub beyond the garden boundary I was slightly soothed; the songster knew nothing of the tensions of the world, would strive, and so would I.
This mid-week will be the Spring Equinox, ‘officially’ the first day of spring and a traditional time for celebrations. 20th March is also International Day of Happiness…coincidence?
The equinox marks the moment of the year when day and night are the same length, indeed the word equinox translates as ‘equal night’ in Latin.
This is a time of new growth: elder and hazel leaves, soon to be followed by birch. Hazel catkins have reached their long dangling peak, whilst the willow’s equivalent, the pussy-buds are transforming from silken silver tufts to plumes of pollen-yellow. Blackthorn blossom is giving way to unfurling leaves; greening hawthorn is as tempting as its country name ‘bread and cheese’. The ground is carpeted with celandines, violets and crocus, new leaves of wild arum, ramsons, cleavers and cow parsley. Bright greens, sunshine yellows and tentative purple.
You may remember my ‘Autumn To Do List’ I posted here as we moved from September into October. Spring, even more than early autumn, is a time of excitement and burgeoning possibilities. It can be easy to get swept along in the rush towards that dream of ‘the perfect summer’ and miss out on the little joys of the season. Writing a list of my ‘Spring Things’ helps me focus on what is important; the little moments that help me connect to the season, and to plan for some calm in the (often frantic) months ahead.
A Spring To Do List
- Listen to the dawn chorus
- Fill vases with British/home-grown daffodils
- Enjoy soft boiled egg with ‘soilders’ for breakfast (organic, free range & local of course)
- Smell hyacinths and other spring blooms
- Go for a windy walk
- Watch for first cherry blossom on the ancient tree in the orchard
- Pair spring greens with fresh sheep cheese
- Sow seeds
- Wash the windows and front door, air laundry outside
- Write a letter to a friend
- Make a note of the dates swallows, cuckoos and other summer migrants return