There is a tree round the corner from my flat that is heavy with blossom. It is thick and pink and fluffy, and every time I walk past it, I stop and look.
I know it’s a little premature and England has a habit of surprising, but
Winter drags interminably on and then, suddenly –
I am walking to the bus stop and the sky offsets the city rather than submerging it; and it is not such an effort to drag myself out of bed. Real wood fires and ice-shot sunshine aside, I am far happier in Spring. It feels like a weight has lifted and as though the world is back on my side again.
Last weekend, we drunk tea on a tiny balcony, squashed between terraced houses which trapped the first rays of Spring sun. On Sunday, the air smelt of rain as I ran to the bus stop and the sun was still smiling when I got home. On Monday morning, the birds were singing and I accidentally stumbled into a stream of sun that kissed my cheek as it cut through the chill. Mid-week, I spotted the first daffodils on the verge . Today, I have woken up to a world that is bathed in sunshine –
And I am not a big nature person. I do not have green fingers nor any particular affinity to the great outdoors; and, yet, I am blown away by how the world changes. How in a matter of days, the sun is waking me up and the trees that, just a few weeks ago, were knotted and bare, are sprinkled in colour. How the places that I have walked past every day for the past four months are emerging shiny and new, transformed by the light falling at a different angle. How at the same time, nature can be incredibly cruel.
This is the challenge: how to hold these two extremes side by side –
because we are bound up in nature, I am belatedly beginning to understand. The appreciation extends, I think, beyond the “doesn’t it look nice” to our relationship with the world. The ties feel intrinsic, rather than assumed; the connection evident in the cheerier morning helloes and a collective bounce in our step when Spring does its thing. Life feels slightly lighter again, or it certainly does for me –
Because Spring blossom means that the world is coming back to life a little. It is hopeful and mysterious and magical; a fundamental part of the process and also a surprise. It means long evenings and the scent of grass and the blurry buzz of summer – and it not being quite such a struggle to go out into the world.