In the UK, we have had the most glorious sunshine for much of the last week, although some days have been quite blustery. It’s been the sort of weather that calls to you through the window to get out and blow the cobwebs away.
Although I don’t have a garden, I’m fortunate enough to have a park just across the road. It’s a small, semi-wild park, without much in the way of attractions: no café, no boating lake, no rides for children, no exercise circuits etc. It’s a short cut for me to get to the station or to the doctor’s, and the picturesque route to the supermarket. In fact, I find plenty of excuses to go there, and it’s not usually very busy.
This last week, then, while we’re still only on semi-lockdown, and have been permitted to go out once a day to exercise, I’ve made sure to go there most days, to get a bit of exercise, to disconnect, and to get a little sunshine. All, of course, while tacking and jibing, beating a zig-zag course to maintain a sensible distance from other walkers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, bird watchers, family footie sessions, etc. that are suddenly invading what I’d begun to think of as my own personal space.
It seems that everyone has taken the government’s advice to keep away from others as an excuse to start a new exercise regime. It’s like New Year’s resolutions all over again; though I suppose, being Spring, we should call it turning over a new leaf.
And the park itself is busy turning over new leaves: while most of the nation is now working from home and not dressing to impress anyone, the trees are donning their new Spring outfits of green feathers. You can almost hear them dreaming of spreading their wings and taking flight.
At the beginning of the week, the horse chestnut leaf buds were no more than swollen sticky pledges to the future.
Just a few days later they had burst open and were starting to shake free the long-fingered palmate leaves and already show the tiny pyramids of promise that they’ll be holding high their candles again this year.
The wild park offers plenty of scope when it comes to dreams of flight and hope for the future. But to get the pretty cultivated blossoms of the first picture, I had to go farther afield to the big town-centre park, with its regimented gardens and ornamental trees, its amusement park, paddling pool and children’s playground.
And to find this beautiful single bloom, a white snake’s head fritillary, I had to stop looking skyward with the trees and thinking of the glories of flight and instead turn earthward in the quiet of the church garden.