Winter seemed determined to hang on this year. Although the weather for the last month or more was bright and sunny for the most part, it stayed bitingly cold and dry. The combination of bitter daytime cold, harsh overnight frosts and lack of moisture left the fields brown, the trees and hedges starkly bare and a lack of flowers in the hedgerows. Only some brave snowdrops showed their faces, but even they were late arriving and are still blooming into April, when normally they'd be long gone. A few primroses in sheltered spots, and daffodils of course, but all much later than usual.
At least here in West Wales we escaped the heavy snowfalls that plagued other parts of the UK, but it started to seem like the White Witch of Narnia had cast a spell over the country.
At last the wind direction has changed, bringing both milder air and rainfall. And almost overnight the countryside has changed. The fields have turned from brown to green. The hedges and woods are also starting to green up as the leaves return. Lawns are suddenly starred with daisies. Bumble bees have emerged. In gardens, rhododendrons, magnolias and flowering cherries have burst into life from a standing start. The cowslips in the meadow that had barely raised their heads last week are now covered in their clustered yellow bells. What I took for a bank full of snowdrops as I drove over to a friend's house the other day was instead a swathe of wood anemones that had seemingly sprung up from nowhere. And yesterday I spied my first pair of swallows.
I suspect that you could almost see the landscape change on an hourly basis.
How marvellous the land is! How resilient and adaptable. How lucky we are to live in such a miraculous place.