Two herons flew over the garden today; they had no interest in the pond below, intent only their pursuit of each other. Half a dozen kites wheeling, diving and chasing each other in the skies… and a busy bluetit, lining the nesting box under the eaves. Buds on the roses are fattening nicely… all reminders that spring is happening, whether we notice or not. Although perhaps, at the moment, we are noticing the changes in nature more than ever.
On my five-mile drive to work, I pass through fields bordered with hedgerows. I have seen the daffodils bloom and fade in great golden banks, watched the bare branches of blackthorn don their lacy finery, grateful for even such forays into greenery. But more than anything, it is an old oak that has been my measure of the coming of spring.
The oak tree sits beside the normally-busy road. Sometimes a buzzard will perch in its branches, sometimes the rising sun seems to rest there and often it is a ghostly presence, shrouded in mist.
I have watched its bronzed leaves cling late into the winter and seen its bare branches stand guard over the first stirrings of the spring. I have seen it weighed down by snow and weathering the storms. Today, though, even driving past, you could see when the buds began to swell…and today, it was decked in green, called forth by the past few days of sun. It is always amongst the last of the trees to wake from its long sleep… and now I know that spring is well and truly here.
It gives a sense of hope and new beginnings to the morning as I drive through the unwonted silence of empty roads. There is plenty of room for hope at the moment, with the world turned topsy-turvy and so much uncertainty, fear and anxiety around. But as I inspect each flower in my son’s garden, seeing how much it has grown overnight and watching the starry petals of the tulips open to the sun, instead of the constricted world bounded by our walls, fences and an imposed isolation, I see the infinite wonder of nature and its wide horizons opening before me. And, for that moment, there is only peace.