'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Slow Arrival of Spring

I search for signs of Spring from the first of January.  But it can’t be hurried.  And because it arrives slowly, it’s all the more reviving.
The light glinting off a crowd of snowdrops under the hawthorn hedge flashes a signal of hope, like kids bouncing sun light off a shard of mirror and on top of the hedge a blue-grey dunnock throws back its head and pours out its sweet scratchy song.  I take my tea and go into the garden, bending low to the soil to look for more signs.  Little spears of crocus flowers thrust up through soggy soil, tiny primrose petals are ready to ping open, celandine leaves are glossy and polished ready for the Spring Show.  

As February blows in, my sparrows get fidgety too.   Via the nest box camera, I watch the male spring-cleaning, dragging out beak-fulls of old nesting material.  He struggles with a huge tangle of straw, heaving the lot up to the entrance hole but it won’t go through and he only manages to pull out a few strands.  But he’s determined and finally the box, which the female has roosted in all winter, is empty.  We fixed a camera next to ‘Sparrow Heights,’ the three roomed apartment block on the side of the house.  On the monitor, I watch the birds flitting in and out, choosing their apartments, chirping loudly when they’ve selected the one they want.

Now it’s March and daffodils wave as I tread the earth lightly on my way home from Dru Yoga at Theatre Clwyd.  The rhubarb’s showing tantalizing glimpses of ruby red stalks. I’ve seen skinny lambs, acid yellow primroses,
heard my blackbird sing under the darkening sky and a song thrush in his usual tree belt out his aria as I pass each morning.

I’ve done some great ‘slow’ things whilst waiting for spring.  I spent a Saturday with North East Wales Wildlife in Rhydymwyn, furtling about in mouldy barn owl pellets looking for the remains of harvest mice.  I learned how to recognise a vole's skull from a shrew's and became adept at telling species apart by removing their molars. Soon I was calling out, ‘field vole, bank vole, common shrew,’ like I’d been doing it for years!  No harvest mice but it certainly beat doing the weekly shop. 
At Theatre Clwyd, I watched a spell-binding production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, where I heard ‘the dew falling,’ and ‘the sleep of birds.’

Last week, back at the Theatre, I experienced a ‘Picnic Play.’  In the Clwyd Room we watched the cast of Under Milk Wood read Tom Stoppard’s ‘Inspector Hound,’ whilst we munched sandwiches and slurped tea.  We could’ve sat at the feet of the cast on the cushions and blankets provided.  A few did, but most laid their food out on tables, jars of mustard and sandwiches wrapped in rustling tin foil. It was great fun. Their next picnic play is on March 21st. 


Barry Hankey said...

Spring certainly seems to be earlier this year than last. I've already picked some of my rhubarb. Ransoms planted in the 'acer glade' last autumn are now clear of the leaf mold. I'm hoping they flower before I head for Greece

Sarah Lewis said...

home made pesto sauce made with Ransoms leaves is very nice on warm spag with a dusting of parmesan.

laidbackviews said...

Oh it must be nice, daffodils and colour this early in the season. Still a week or two away yet in these parts. One or two are looking ready to open soon, but most still only have leaf growth, flower heads yet to form. And the rhubarb, well it hasn't even broken through the crust yet. And we've barely had a frost this winter.

But the birds are singing.