I am struck by how there are countless busy birds all around me, yet I cannot see them at all. Occasionally I see the shudder of a hedge sprig, or a tiny body as it flits in a hurry into a tree. Yet, all I perceive is singing. Singing in earnestness, in abundance, in competition, even just for the joy of it, perhaps. How can so many souls be so invisible yet so audible? How can such tiny beings make these days seem so springy?
Yes, Spring is arrived. And with it come birdsong and business. The battle of procreation begins. Nest building and posturing, squabbling and singing. All these are signs that the Great Dance has begun again. We can dare to go outdoors with one less layer on, we can venture out in the evenings without a torch to walk Dog. I spent an hour watching a collared dove diligently build a nest under a privet thicket. Building grass by spindly grass her cosy nest, hidden from threatening eyes, safe for when she settles upon her eggs for the Great Wait. The great in-breath has begun. She will sit and pause, holding the air in, brooding, waiting.
Spring is the infancy of the year, where baby shoots begin to grow and trees start to bud. Mistakes and learning will come, as the year matures but for now, it is the time of chaotic wonder of a child. How wondrous to see a field of lambs, or snowdrops in abundance. Every single year it is a delight, newness surprises us yet again. We are so simply and beautifully connected to the seasons, all we have to do is look, when driving the car, or walking. Many now watch tv programmes that give us Spring without us leaving our sofas. It is good to feel the laugh bubble up from within when these moments of joy come at us from the world. Perhaps it is the habit of slowing down and really seeing what is there to be seen that eludes us.
Or maybe hearing. What if we spent a moment feeling, smelling, tasting Spring? The other day I picked a handful of wild garlic in the woods and had a wayside snack. The taste was pungent, garlicky, filled with Nwyfre, the force of it that compels it to grow. I ate it half a second after it came out of the ground so I could taste the earth, smell its freshness. I gave thanks for its tingling growth, going straight into my body and nourishing it.
The birds spend every waking moment dancing the dance. The trees and bushes have awoken. As have us human beings. I wonder what would happen to our souls if we too went outside deliberately, to listen, feel, smell and taste, as well as see the great magic that is awakening all around us. Perhaps we are in our tenth Spring, maybe our 90th, yet wonder abounds and we cannot help to feel it. Go. Enjoy. It is free and it is beautiful.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods