It’s finally happening, nature is unfurling. I noticed my first spring-dressed tree just yesterday as I was driving along the winding country lanes near home – a startling green lollipop against the brown woody garb of winter that seems to have been worn ‘after hours’ this year, it appeared in my line of vision like an exotic newcomer making their way across the landscape. I’m usually well into celebrating these spring greens by the end of April and this year has felt like a long-held breath but, now they’ve decided to come, it seems there’s no stopping them.
As though under signal from this single green party-tree dressed in his finest, the familiar panorama of my morning drive had subtly altered by this morning and was newly embellished with lime green highlights. As I took in this subtlest of differences, it seemed to be me as though the Green Man had come around in the night with paintbrush dipped in the verdant ink of the one tree and trailed it softly across the tips and edges of the whole of the landscape.
Yet all of this sudden and (even after seeing it year-in and year-out for all of my life) somewhat startling new colour comes from within; these acid yellows into lime greens have been ‘cooking’ internally for some time now, waiting for their moment, tightly held in downy buds that refused to let go until they received the appropriate signal from Nature. Simply waiting for things on the outside to feel ‘right’, for some sort of external stimulus to confirm that its time for release and full-expression of all that it is, a tree has held all of this potential since its very beginning; this green is, quite literally, the inside of a tree expressed. As I considered this some more, it brought to mind those ‘Magic Painting’ books that held me fascinated as a small child; the ones where you simply dip your brush in water and apply it to the page, releasing all of the colour that had been invisibly held within the black lines of the picture. Strangely compulsive, they kept my child-self poised in anticipation, eager to see what potential I was about to release, what magic colours would come about on the page, as though added yet really there all the time. In much the same way, its as though the longer the spring has held out this year, the more we have all longed for it to happen, longed to witness it release itself. Maybe that’s what this most measured of seasons has been all about, this time around, like a lesson that steps us away from all of the ingratitude that stems from a culture of instant gratification and things supposedly happening when we demand that they do – because, like the very latest of brides (not forgetting that bridal tardiness is always done for effect), we are certainly more attentive and appreciative of the spring now that she has kept us waiting for so very long!
And so, in the space of just one journey to school and back, I enjoyed verdant green trees and candy-pink blossom, a tightly coiled foal in sun-dappled meadow, two newly born dots of fleeciness nestled close to proud ewe, a cotton-tailed rabbit rear disappearing into road-side burrow…and the very fact that the car was already registering a temperature of 14°C before the day had really got going. By the time I’d moved on to my morning walk, I’d added a flurry of chaffinches across my path, a relentless woodpecker, several red kites, such tremendous birdsong that I was quite blown away, bright yellow flowering gorse and deep blue mirrored sky…plus a day so warm I was able to unpeel right down to my tee-shirt and spend a blissful half hour swinging my legs from the lakeside bench enjoying the sun on my face. Spring is here. Verdant is here. Yes, I’m appreciative!