"Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the boidies is
They say the boid is on the wing
But that’s absoid, the wing is on the boid!"
I have been unable to attribute this little ditty to an author, although some references did suggest Ogden Nash. But no matter, it takes me right back to my childhood and to the excitement of knowing longer and brighter days lay ahead. Days that would stretch into what seemed like endless summer holidays full of bike rides and climbing trees and playing in and around the village where I grew up - with Enid Blyton centre stage!
As I woke up on Monday morning I heard the weather report on the radio and learned that it was the first day of meteorological spring. The Met Office states that meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle and measure the meteorological state, as well as coinciding with the calendar to determine a clear transition between the seasons.
The meteorological seasons consist of splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each. These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics. By the meteorological calendar, spring will always start on 1 March; ending on 31 May.
In the future, there may be an added measurement attributed to Spring 2021 in terms of COVID-19 and its role in the lockdown. If current trends continue, it does indeed look as if Spring 2021 will offer a transition to greater individual and collective freedom and fewer restrictions. A reason to be hopeful.
Hope is a concept which is often married with spring, referring to the end of the long winter hibernation and emergence of growth and a definite change in the light. Hope is both a noun and a verb - the focus of a myriad of quotations - it speaks to human need and want but also to resilience and determination.
I had my usual lunch-time walk today which takes in several avenues around my house. Snowdrops, crocuses and primula were in abundance, and in some sheltered and sunny spots daffodils were almost out. I realised I have walked past these same gardens scores of times since the first lockdown a year ago, and have witnessed the changes of each of the four seasons. This was both reassuring but mildly disconcerting, and yet the sight of all this new budding growth in the bright sunshine also gave me a sense of hope.
I became conscious of lines from another poem – The Seed Shop – by Muriel Stuart floating into my head. This lovely gentle poem packs an emotional punch and encapsulates the concept of birth, renewal and growth when it seems almost inconceiveable. Above all, it captures the very essence of hope.
Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone and shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry -
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
Dead that shall quicken at the voice of spring,
Sleepers to wake beneath June’s tempest kiss;
Though birds pass over, unremembering,
And no bee find here roses that were his.
In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That shall drink deeply at a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.
Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can stir a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.
Stay safe, take care