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The Gift of Spring

in Features

In a few weeks from now spring will be sprung and the seasonal ‘new beginnings’ will slowly but surely start to show. At first the obvious place to look for spring is outside the house where you will notice new growth just about anywhere there is greenery. One of the joys of an early morning walk on a sunny day takes on a whole new meaning in the springtime. The trigger that will tell you that are the birdsongs or the screeching of swallows (or is it the swifts?) as they dart around our skies.

Whenever I walk into town, summer or winter, I always include Commonwealth Park in my route. What sheer joy that jewel has brought to the heart of town, and a couple of laps around it is medicine for the soul especially early morning in spring. And to think that the doomsayers were writing this park off when it was still in its infancy – where will they be walking this spring I wonder?

If you walk along our rocky shoreline you will notice that the new hatchings of various species of fish are also darting around in schools using their strength in numbers and the shadows in the shallows to avoid capture by predators. Nature is clever and the large numbers of fry will be decimated but not exterminated unless we ‘wise’ humans intervene and stop polluting our shoreline with residual oils and plastics – think Rosia Bay or the Europa foreshore.

Med Steps devotees will tell you that there is nothing like waiting for the sunrise up there in some tranquil perch, camera (or phone) ready and senses alert to click your own portrait of a new day breaking on our beautiful Rock. Local fishermen who go out in the dark will be dreading the sunlight because with the advancing light their trolling ‘golden hour’ is coming to an end as hungry fish now start seeing better and avoid the lures that they troll behind their boats at slow speeds. A tug at the lure sends the adrenalin racing and the hunter gatherer instinct kicks in, the world forgotten for a few seconds, the joys of fishing.

It’s all about the optimism that only a new day in spring can conjure up.

That joy will not be diminished if the catch doesn’t materialise because invariably there will be near misses that later become the tales of ‘the one that got away.’ When was the last time you went to the botanical gardens just to spend time and reinvigorate your senses? Listen to real birdcalls not on your iPhone but out in nature, and then in your mind you can write your own narrative as the squawking seagulls insist on interrupting your bliss.

Visible signs of spring cannot be taken for granted in our part of the world because if ‘Mr. Grey Levanter’ insists it can be bleak and blustery for weeks on end and our early morning outside routines will be curtailed for many.

The brave keep fit brigade will soldier on regardless, but their goals are different to ours. We only want to relax and reinvent our moods before breakfast. For us the promise of spring is an opportunity to observe Easter or Passover or other seasonal highlights and then move into the glorious summers that we are blessed with at the confluence of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. We are lucky indeed. 

Next spring will be sprung in Australia this September 1st and as ever nature will be working its hardest to overcome the tragedies of this year’s fire season. In early February I saw a documentary ‘Australia on Fire’ and the images of injured koala bears and kangaroos still haunt me because I don’t know how to hope that it will be alright again. Climate change is happening and the joy of spring over here in our cocooned post-Brexit corner of Europe tends to blind us to that reality.

When you decide on your spring routine in a few weeks, and please include nature in you plans, make room in your thoughts for the plight of our planet. Whatever we can do, however small and insignificant it may seem, to improve the chances of our future generations appreciating what we will be enjoying this spring in partnership with nature is surely worth preserving at any cost and that goes for our freedom too. Some gifts we simply can’t take for granted.

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