The Light of Spring

As spring really (honestly – it’s truly here!) gets underway we can take time to see how the light has shifted since mid-winter. Suddenly it seems clearer, more vibrant. Colours have greater depth – they shine through and bring a sense of joy and hope. The hedgerows are full of fresh, young green leaf and often foam with the frothy white blossom of hawthorn.

A brilliant hedge of hawthorn against an azure sky
Spring light brings sharper focus and brighter colours

Primroses peep and pose – shyly and boldly. It seems that nothing can restrain their exuberance once they really get going.

The first primroses of spring demand attention
Peeping or posing – primroses make a bold show

The garden sees a sudden spurt in growth – the grass grows apace and shrubs that seemed dormant wake up and display fresh buds and the promise of glorious blooms. Bees and insects buzz and the birds are frantic with the urgent business of nest-building and gathering food for their young.

Fledglings demand food
Hungry mouths clamour to be fed

Step into the fresh air first thing in the morning and the air is fragrant with the green smell of grass and new foliage. As the sun gently warms trees, plants and flowers that fragrance becomes heady with sweet perfume.

Fragrance-filled air speaks of the joy of spring
The heady fragrance of spring flowers tuns heads with joy…

A walk in the countryside delivers familiar sights in all the brilliance of spring illumination. Choose a walk by sea or lake and it reveals water in all its moods. The scene sparkles in early morning light and then goes on shifting and changing as the day wears on. Restless and in constant motion the water fidgets and changes; an ever-transforming kaleidoscope of shade, colour and mood.

Calm, reflective sea…
…or wild, restless sea

Words from Alfred, Lord Tennyson describe it thus:

The splendour falls on castle walls
            And snowy summits old in story ;
        The long light shakes across the lakes,
            And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
A wild waterfall cascades and tumbles in exuberance
A cataract tumbles and leaps – almost for sheer joy

In reaction, our hearts, too, leap in glory as spring takes a firm hold; the winter seems far behind.

The Arrival of Spring

In the northern hemisphere many people have found that the long drawn out winter has seemed endless. The 21st March brings the spring equinox, when the length of the daylight equals the length of the nightlight. There is a noticeable shift in the quality of the light, too. 

A grey day hanging over from a long winter

The flat grey days of winter with occasional brilliant contrasting shafts of bright light when the sun does shine give way to a more intense sunlight with a real feeling of warmth. 

Splashes of bright and dazzling sun at last

The wind, when it blows, can still be harsh; sleet showers can catch us unawares but more often than not the rain falls more gently, more softly. The birds are singing; their joyful songs can be heard more and more early in the morning, and they continue late into the evening. 

Joyful scents, colours and textures of spring

Life is just bursting to get going again after the slack time of winter when all has seemed to be asleep. Out in the garden you can sense the change. One garden writer has said, ‘This is the real thing and by the end of March any sane person is in a state of intoxication, falling in love again with this strange world.’

A spring sky that makes the heart sing

And indeed it really is a time to get out into the open, to notice the changes the light and the weather undergo; to relish the scent of the spring air, the heady perfume from cut grass, pine resin, sudden floral outbursts from daffodils, hyacinths, violets and other wonderful spring flowers.

Another sign that spring has sprung…
‘There is no time like spring, when life’s alive in everything’

Holy Week and Easter

The season of Lent draws to an end and the Christian church enters Holy Week. Palm Sunday blows in with the cheering and waving of palm branches as Jesus enters Jerusalem. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, the people cry – believing that here is the Saviour they’ve been waiting for. Repression, oppression and hardship will cease and all shall be well.

Palm Sunday procession

But the events of Holy Week take a twist. The authorities are upset by Jesus and what they see as his subversive actions. Determined to do away with him they bring about his arrest, fake trial and execution. All seems lost…

Good Friday is one of the most painful days in the Christian year. Betrayal, loss, grief and bewilderment – just some of the emotions felt by the family, friends and followers of Jesus as they stand at the foot of the cross and watch him die. So many people have endured these emotions over the last year as they have seen the effects of Covid-19 on family and friends. It’s tough to experience; hard to understand why such bad, sad things happen. None of us can bypass the cross. But even as we stand there, weeping, God is with us. Even as he died, one of the last thoughts of Jesus was for his mother and his much loved disciple, as he commended them to each other’s care. His love never ends.

The Crucifixion

Jesus dies and is laid in a tomb. All seems lost. Holy Saturday comes in as a quiet, sad and reflective day when the earth seems to cease turning and all life is suspended in a kind of disbelief.

But then a new day dawns, Easter arrives, and with it a jubilant message of death being overturned. New life bursts forth with the risen Jesus – just as he had promised. A new story begins…

Each of us can take hope from this. In the last book of the Christian Bible are written the words, ‘Behold, I make all things new…’ (Revelation 21:5.) Spring arrives, and with it comes an explosion of new life springing forth. Now is the time for us to delight in the signs of spring and to remember that age-old promise  expressed so delightfully in the Book of Psalms, ‘weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5.)

The Easter Garden and New Life