Outlook Issue 16 Spring 2012
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Leap into Spring
Leap into Spring “Nothing is as beautiful as Spring .....” words written by the Jesuit priest poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. In etymological terms, ‘Spring’ is that season when plants spring from the earth. It is certainly a time when our spirits, tested in the cold, grey of winter, are lifted, and we have new-found hope. And our awareness of our environment sharpens. Our powers of observation are honed in the expectation of what is to be. Flowers – primroses, celandines, speedwell, violets and both hazel catkins and willow palms add to the joy of Spring. Even in drab and lachrymose February, birds are mating, looking for nesting sites. A few hardy species, especially blackbirds, have already occupied nests. Pigeons are not followers of seasons; their broken egg shells, evidence of early hatching, can be found even in February. March hares leap, frolic and ‘box’ in newly emergent corn blades. Whilst overhead, rooks are decorating skeletal tree branches with what they perceive as nests! These coarse, interweavings of twigs will soon support two or three helpless young rooks. Those squirrels which have hibernated, awaken in search of food placed on bird tables. Also in the gardens, frogs can be found under rockery stones, or sluggishly swimming in ponds. Soon, the familiar masses of ‘frog-spawn’ will appear – as will strings of toad’s eggs. On early sunny days, bumble bees have already appeared. So too have wasps and hornets, sleepily struggling close to their sites of hibernation. Garages and garden sheds, given close scrutiny, will reveal spider and insect activity; somehow, the odd butterfly will be found, fluttering in the lounge window. Things happen, creatures move. “The ancient pulse of germ and birth” (Thomas Hardy) is reborn, quickens into being and makes glad our hearts. And, like our clocks, we ‘spring forward’! Michael Stagg Nature Notes