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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Early Springtime

I just finished doing some morning stretches for the first time in a while!

Oof. My muscles are certainly tight. To be honest, they are the complete opposite of flexible. However, doing the exercises and full breathing felt good and made me wonder why I had not gone back to doing that on a regular basis much sooner! I guess there is a new start for everything, even if we lapse.

Is Winter a time for lapsing? I don’t know, but I seem to do it, despite best intentions and resolutions made in January (resolutions that only seem to last 3 days!).

But now it is officially Springtime. Yesterday was the Spring Equinox, a marker announcing longer stretches of daylight, something that is very noticeable in the north of Scotland.

Aside from the extended hours of natural light, it does not really feel like springtime here in the north of Scotland right now. I suppose I was unrealistic, willing the buds to suddenly burst open and the sun to shine, and all things to look bright and green and vibrant on the first day of Spring. Instead, the wind has been blowing and the landscape still looks rather washed out. And yes, I've grown impatient.

Saying that, when I look more closely, I see the buds forming on trees, snowdrops are out in hidden places (others not so hidden), birds are carrying bits of grass in their beaks to create nests, and the sea is slowly forming a rich tapestry of new seaweed growth. All things to be celebrated.

Last night I saw a frog on my doorstep, huddled in a corner trying to remain inconspicuous. A frog! That seems to be a rare occurrence in Caithness, or at least I have not seen many frogs here. I was glad I saw him, and by the light of the porch lamp, I nudged it onto a dustpan and brought him to a more ‘safe’ environment.

Frogs are one of the main indicator species for changes in our environment. They are organisms that can tell us about an area by their presence or absence. It may indicate a developing pond ecosystem, as well as increased protection nearby.

Aside from all that Spring entails, I wonder what changes lie in our path.

I put a green cloth on my table and bought some tall irises yesterday, to enhance the feeling of Spring and perhaps coax it along.

In a way, Springtime sometimes feels like a more fitting season to make resolutions which could have greater potential to stick. There is more energy working in our favour! With the brighter days comes a widening of perspective, where prospects and hopes may widen too.

After what we’ve been through this past year, it may be hard to open ourselves up to creative wishful thinking. It can be tempting to pull back and hide, in an attempt to protect ourselves and to avoid disappointment. However, as the birds and buds are flourishing, we too can take one small step at a time, and resolve to pursue two or more hopeful thoughts.

It is okay to prepare ourselves for various outcomes, but it is also healthy not to focus on what might happen negatively or what new restriction will be put in place. Instead, let's open up our hearts and minds to new and surprising possibilities.

We can start with what is in front of us. There is always an open door somewhere. People who have existed in the tightest of circumstances have been living testaments to that in history (like those who have been unjustly imprisoned or have faced severe illness or disability), still choosing to step into the pathway of love.

We have incredible illustrations of such profound humanity in our own time. The most famous examples are the author of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and of course, Professor Stephen Hawking. Both wrote amazing books one letter at a time against extreme odds. Such people knew the great value of perseverance and the significance of the smallest movements of mind and body.

Early Spring is a wonderful season of tiny movements and sometimes almost imperceptible changes. It is this mysterious growth which can be even more inspiring than the fabulous blooms of late Spring and early Summer.



By Christina Rossetti

Frost-locked all the winter,

Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,

What shall make their sap ascend

That they may put forth shoots?

Tips of tender green,

Leaf, or blade, or sheath;

Telling of the hidden life

That breaks forth underneath,

Life nursed in its grave by Death.

Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,

Drips the soaking rain,

By fits looks down the waking sun:

Young grass springs on the plain;

Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;

Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,

Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;

Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;

Birds sing and pair again.

There is no time like Spring,

When life’s alive in everything,

Before new nestlings sing,

Before cleft swallows speed their journey back

Along the trackless track –

God guides their wing,

He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –

Before the daisy grows a common flower

Before the sun has power

To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.

There is no time like Spring,

Like Spring that passes by;

There is no life like Spring-life born to die,

Piercing the sod,

Clothing the uncouth clod,

Hatched in the nest,

Fledged on the windy bough,

Strong on the wing:

There is no time like Spring that passes by,

Now newly born, and now

Hastening to die.

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