I intended to take a little break from posting once I finished my 'Winter Blessings and Beauties' experiment of posting every day throughout Winter, but I didn't mean to let quite so much time pass between posts! Nevertheless, even if I haven't been writing here about it, I have been diligently looking for signs of spring every day. Of course, the weather Gods decided to throw a sizeable spanner in the works by sending us snow, ice, gales and floods during the last month. But though spring may not manifest as quickly as I might hope, the Wheel of the Year is moving inexorably on, and Spring is undoubtedly underway.
Here, snowdrops, primroses and daffodils are suddenly everywhere. On bright days, previously unnoticed celandines open their golden petals in wide, joyous reflection of the sun.
Yesterday, sitting on my bench overlooking the valley and listening to the drumming of a woodpecker somewhere in the trees, I suddenly spotted the first new leaves of the season, glowing translucent gold in the sun. They were on an elder tree in a sheltered spot, and of course I had to immediately make my way down the hill to admire them up close.
From there I spotted gorse in full, brilliant bloom, which was attracting early insects to feast on its delicately fragranced flowers.
At the edge of the veggie patch there are crocuses glowing like jewels where I planted them many years ago. I'm so glad I did! Every glimpse of them gladdens my heart.
In a sheltered spot in the village there are pussy willow catkins in abundance. Here, further up the hill where we are more exposed to the elements there are only hazel catkins so far, dancing like lambs' tails in the breeze.
They are the male flowers of the hazel of course. Much harder to spot are the female hazel flowers which look like tiny crimson sea-anemones. In autumn, if they are fertilised by the pollen from the catkins each one will become a hazel nut.
Yes, already I am looking forward to the year ahead, even though I have only just begun sowing seeds and my potatoes are still chitting on the windowsill. That is one of the wonderful things about following the changing seasons, the rhythms and cycles of the Earth. Always changing, always the same they give a pattern to our lives that is both dynamic and reassuring. That is a great gift in these strange times.