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In light where you can see them.
Notes on spring.
Here it is. This is the first morning since we heard of its pending arrival that spring has actually walked through the door. My door has been ajar since the end of January. It was a long, cold and brutal winter, not helped by a cost of living crisis. It’s unnecessarily difficult to exist already but with it now costing more than ever, the salt is really rubbed into the wound.
As January came to its conclusion, I flung the door open to let spring in, only to be greeted by a cold and snowy Scotland at my doorstep. I left the door ajar just in case spring decided to show up that little bit early. It didn’t. In fact, only 2 days ago we saw snow dizzy and fleeting through the town, perhaps a last dusting to say goodbye. The ashes of winter. One last coat of white paint to give the place a freshening up. An offer of a blank canvas for spring to conjure up its masterpiece.
Winters have usually been a safe place where I would happily spend my time locked behind doors with candles for company, layering myself up like an onion in protest. It is often spoken about how cold and dark winter can be, but few seem to discuss the warmth of winter. The extra cups of coffee, the blankets piling on top of each other on the bed, Christmas hugs with those that you love. Even in the depth of winter there is warmth to be found, but this year has cost more to be warm and even more to be cold - So finding it was harder to do.
This sudden shimmering sun of spring that wraps itself around me is more refreshing than ever. It is a welcome chance to pause, to feel this heat on my skin. Just 3 days ago I was distorted by mountains of goosebumps. Now, this warmth melts any evidence of winter away. This is the kind of heat that wont cost you. These are feelings to enjoy without the guilt of feeling them. The grass isn’t just greener on the other side, it smells it too - helped by the neighbour gleefully mowing the lawn.
As spring leaps in I feel a different set of goosebumps. Standing on the lawn watching my lurcher wriggle himself into the earth, coating himself in its warm and happy scent. I tingle in contentedness. My body once tired from all the shivering now rendered warm and new. I have an energy again, I can feel my body moving and not just notice me moving it. This lurcher makes me feel like this often but the added warmth of spring and the rainless air have given my lenses a much needed clean. To see him again in this light is to witness life happening at just the right speed. There is no rush to catch up with my surroundings, no fear that I am moving to slow. Life is happening and I am right there with it, clutching at the sun beams as they reach through the branches beyond the fence.
The days are longer and offer more of it to taste. More time with friends in light where you can see them. Choirs of birds performing a symphony together under the spotlight of the early morning sun. Each song ending with a hold for applause. I rise at first light to give spring a standing ovation. The days are longer so the sunsets are later - giving you more of a chance to watch the light dip past the horizon to wake others up. No need to rush to catch the last of the warm glow fading in the distance from the murky windows of the 12th floor, fighting with your own reflection to see it. Take your time on your way home. Roll down the window and feel the sun gently grab your arm as you rest it on the opening while you drive. Be glad to come home to a house illuminated by the sun as it feeds the rooms with the company of light, reminding you that its better to see where you are than to hide in the dark.
With the sun of spring comes the capacity for shade. A place to sit beneath the canopy of trees and look across fields with the greenest greens. To see the land as a distance and not just the treading beneath your feet. You are looking up now. Winter bent your neck so much that you ached for a massage from the sun. To choose the shade when you need it, to have it there for you in places that are crowded. Each person in the sun is a choreographer of light, building crowds of shadows upon the pavements. A concert of shapes performing a familiar dance. Spring begs you to walk in it. I remember days as a child, perched on the wall of the estate I grew up in. I would leap off to knock at the doors of friends to form a squad of ramblers. We would walk the streets together, dragging sticks along the ground that were stolen from a sweet chestnut tree nearby. Whacking walls and bushes as we navigate our way through the buzzing of bees who have just woken up.
I lived through 10 springs in London, each one like the other and often indistinguishable. The hotter days of spring were a chance for you to test your survival skills as you navigate your way through the underground with fans oscillating air so warm it feels like its cooking you. Everything is sticky. The people are sticky. The already evident buzz now buzzing louder. London in spring is its own sight to marvel. Summer is a separate story.
Meeting spring this morning as I opened the door was like stepping off the train and onto the platform to greet an old friend. A friend that had been gone for a year. As I flung the doors open to the garden I could feel the air, it was different. Like market stall traders in the East End of London, spring had been up early to get everything ready. A shift had happened in the night. The garden looked greener, the grass sprayed with a dew that would settle within hours. I stepped out with the dog and tip toed my way onto the wet and cold grass. The instant shock like a lightening bolt of happiness.
A small number of grey clouds dare to pass overhead, little echoes of winter. The wind too. Though this wind now carries with it a warm scent of gorse bushes and cinnamon. Even the cars traveling at the front of the house feel further away, their horns now silent. To sit in spring is to sit in hope unfolding. Dreams from winter suddenly coming true. I remember a Wednesday in December where the chill of the cold held a gun to my head. My arms were in the air begging for the forgiveness and mercy of spring. I think that winter is about perseverance. A lesson in how to keep on going. Spring is your reward. To be free now, to walk on grass not snow. To sit in sun and choose the shade.
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