It’s the end of March. The Vernal Equinox is past. We can properly talk about Spring.
Of course, by the time this blog is published, it may be snowing again, but we don’t have a crystal ball here in the Libertà hive. So…
Instead, to gladden hearts and look forward to lighter, brighter days, we asked each hive member to give us a flavour of the things she most looks forward to with the coming of Spring. Violets rather than snow?
Joanna’s Spring : Inspiration and Magic
In my garden, I have a Whitebeam tree (sorbus aria “Lutescens”, if you’re interested). It was a gift and it’s one of my favourite trees. This select cultivar doesn’t grow very big, and has a pleasing lollipop shape.
If you see a whitebeam on a calm day, or look at the pictures of it on the RHS website, you’d say it’s nothing special. Glossy green leaves, clusters of small white flowers in Spring, red berries in the Autumn. It’s a relative of the common rowan (mountain ash) and it shows. Nothing to admire here, you might think. Move on.
But when the breeze blows? Or when the leaves first unfurl? Ah, then it’s a different story, for the undersides of the leaves are a magical silver-white. In Love in the Valley, George Meredith described it as: “flashing as in gusts the sudden-lighted whitebeam”. He was clearly a fan: the whitebeam catches the eye as well as the light. And the writer’s imagination.
Spring hasn’t yet sprung for Joanna
Her whitebeam’s leaves are still tightly curled, though the prunus behind is in its full glory
For me, Spring comes pretty late. It’s when my whitebeam finally puts out its silver-backed leaves to invite the breeze to play. Best of all, I love to look at it on moonlit nights, with the new leaves quivering like tiny ghosts. Or maybe they’re silver-clad fairies?
Sarah’s Spring : Energy and Surprises
Ah, Spring. I always feel a rush of energy, an urge to get out and get moving after snuggling up under the blankets or in front of the fire for the past few months.
Living in the north of England, it comes a little later, so when Liz, Joanna and Sophie’s daffodils are dying off, high on the Pennines they are just coming into bud! March in Yorkshire can be cruelly cold, but there are compensations, like this stunning moonrise I captured a few years ago. It is cold and chill, but by March we know that the long winter nights are over and we can look forward to warmer, sunnier days.
I love spotting the first snowdrops, whose brave little green shoots appear in February . A few years ago I captured this little beauty on camera.
That was in February, and it was a salutary lesson not to take Nature for granted, because just weeks later we were once again under a blanket of snow!
This year will be a little different, because I have just moved to the West Coast of Scotland.
Being on the coast, we miss the heavy snows that cover the hills and mountains, but this is a land of sunshine and showers, with the bonus of frequent stunning rainbows. And the daffodils here are earlier than on the Pennines, too. Not as abundant as Liz’s beautiful display, but they are bright and beautiful!
Liz’s Spring : Joy, Hope, Life
One minute I’m hunkered down, lights on because the it’s grey outside when a shaft of sunlight catches me in the eye, making me blink. I look up from the keyboard, the sky has cleared to a clear blue and I venture outside without a coat.
There are bulbs pushing through the earth, a blackbird is warning off rivals for his patch, I breath in the scent of new life and I am Mole, in Wind in the Willows, tossing aside his whitewash brush and rolling in the warm grass.
“This is fine!” he said to himself. “This is better than whitewashing!” The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. (Kenneth Graham)
Spring is the dawn chorus gearing up, the “tête-à-tête” daffodils I planted in the autumn blazing yellow as the earth shakes off the dead leaves, wobbly lambs in the fields, the fuzz of green in the hedgerows and the town blowsy with flowering cherries.
For me spring is not just one thing, it’s a shout of joy, hope, life.
Sophie’s Spring : Get It Done Now
Spring makes me uneasy, especially early spring. Everything happens so fast.
One day the cherry trees in my street are a cloud of fragrant white blossom.
Then the winds blow, there are a couple of icy mornings and, lo and behold, the street is covered with confetti and the trees are entirely green leaf and visible twiggery.
Lovely surprise followed by nasty shock.
The poets, even my much loved William Blake, mostly concentrate on the positive stuff, sometimes to the point of soppiness. (Again, including dear old Blake.) Birds delight, Day and night? I mean, really!
The birds are working bloody hard building nests and choosing mates and they do actually knock off at night, exhausted. After all they have to be up with the pre-dawn to deliver the Morning Chorus and get their potential mates interested.
Actually the Birdwatcher in my life tells me that the male wren starts building nests as a precursor to mating. (He can get up to 12, poor little sod.) Then he takes the female round to view his real estate developments so she can take her pick.
No wonder his song always sounds so fierce.
So what spring says to me is: leap out of bed when the birds start chirruping and jolly well put some welly into it. You Have Work To Do! And yes, it’s wonderful —once I get going.
Your Spring : What gladdens your heart at this time of year?
Is there something — a plant, an animal, a sound, a scent — that means “Spring” to you? Something you wait for? And when it arrives, do you take a deep breath and relax contentedly into your skin? Please do tell us, so that we can all share the magic moments.
Liz, Sarah, Joanna, Sophie — from the Libertà hive
March did the decent thing and, having come in like a lion, went out like a lamb. Here’s hoping April keeps it up. ?
Daffodils and blossom. I have to have daffodils in the house from the minute they appear in the shops – even if it’s in January. And Blake’s a favourite in this house, too. Current Resident Poet credits him for his love of poetry in general.
Me too, Lesley. Love them.
I agree Lesley. The moment they’re available we have them in the house. The beginning of the year is so drab and dire you need something to lift your spirits.
The last day of March has been super up here in the north. Cold but sunny and very little wind. Just right for a Mother’s Day walk!
I was up in the woods yesterday and though the bluebells are budding, it was the carpet of white that took our breath away. Wood Anemonies or “Wooden enemies” as Rory in my book TORN calls them.
Have just got back from 3 days in London and my whitebeam still hasn’t actually opened its leaves. They’re beginning to loosen, though, like slightly unfurled silver-green fans. Actually, I’m glad I didn’t miss the opening. Should be in the next day or two. Probably set back by the heavy snow ? we had on Thursday morning, just as I was rushing to catch the train.
But the fine Easter weather has finally done the trick. My whitebeam is beautiful. Here it is, gleaming in Easter Sunday sunshine.