The sun was shining when I woke up yesterday morning, so I made plans for an outing, with one intention in mind – to look for signs of Spring. Armed with my phone camera, the arrival at Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire was heralded by blustery winds and a very cold rain shower – lots of weather to contend with!
Walking around the gardens in search of springtime was a delight for the eyes, and awakened my vision to things I might not have noticed had I not been fully engaged on my quest – I discovered carpets of snowdrops, bright yellow Winter Aconites growing next to acid yellow lichens on a fallen twig, buds sprouting from tree branches, catkins, gorgeous pink cyclamen plants in shadier spaces next to trees. I was aware when out of the wind, of how fabulous the warmth of the sun felt on my face and body.
It wasn’t just the early spring plant life that caught my attention. Watching the behaviour of the numerous water birds in the lakes, it was clear that they too were affected by the oncoming season, and were gearing up for its arrival. There was immense delight to be found in each of these small revelations; even the quality of light yesterday seemed to contain a promise of warmer, sunnier days to come. By contrast, I was certainly fully present on the walk back to the visitor centre, as the wind changed and virtually chased us indoors! With smarting ears and cheeks we gratefully embraced a hot drink in the café, watching the outdoor environment turn white as the snow started to come down at a rapid rate. An immense feeling of gratitude came from the memory of the walk we had just had, the discoveries that were made and the relief to be in the warm again.
Signs of Spring are everywhere around us at the moment – the weather may be cold, and sometimes inclement, but Nature knows that the time has come for emergence and growth. I encourage everyone to turn this change in the seasons into a delightful experience of awareness.