Spring is unfolding in every hedgerow. Suddenly there are celandines, raising bright shining faces to the sun. The fields are green, bees nuzzle honey from heather, and even the thorn-harsh thicket offers tender new leaves.
I am watching, waiting for the first swallows, eager as a child is for Christmas. Surely they will come soon, and my heart will leap in welcome. It has been so long, a whole winter long of longing for spring. When they come, they will swoop in joy, and there will be apple blossom and bluebells and beech leaves, warm nights and long days.
But for now I wait, and count every sign of spring, squirrelling them away like precious morsels to remind and reassure myself that soon the swallows will return, and summer in their wake.