When we walked outside our apartment building today (intent on our Saturday shopping expedition) I was suddenly aware that something was different.
Yes, it has become somewhat 'warmer' in the past few days, so we were not dressed in hats, scarves, gloves, and coats. . .
But it wasn't that.
It was something else...
I couldn't make it out at first but then it 'hit' me: Birdsong!!!
It had been a long time since the birds sang so joyfully, for so long, filling their air with their carolling!
It gladdened my heart and, as I looked about, I realised that there was more.
I could see little things, subtle changes that herald the approach of Spring and the glories of Summer. We pointed out this and that as we walked along. It was a good feeling.
Once we had got back from shopping and packed the things away, I took my camera and went back outside to record these changes for you: And the first thing I saw when walking out of our front entrance was a Robin holding Court in the hawthorn bush:
Usually I am not quick enough to take good bird photographs but this time I was lucky!
At first glance the avenue seems bare, lifeless, winter-bound . . .
And the view across from our apartment is equally unadorned:
But it is an illusion because things are happening all over the place!
For a start; where there was once brown earth and dead leaves, little plants are sprouting:
(Those larger leaves will later become the Cow Parsley and Queen Anne's Lace that adorn the pathway in Summer.)
Lesser Celandine stars the ground:
Here is more Lesser Celandine:
I don't know the name of this one. Do you? I think it might be a form of Toadflax but I may be wrong...
And then I saw this little orchid-like flower:
The leaf buds on the hawthorn bush are beginning to swell as they make ready to burst forth:
And even the old maple tree that the children like to climb has made a start:
This all reminds me of a story related about the life of a man named Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, a Carmelite monk, who lived in the 16th Century, in France.
It was said that:
'One winter day he noticed a tree stripped of its leaves and reflected that before long leaves would appear anew, then flowers, and then fruit, and that this consideration gave him so striking an idea of the providence and might of God that it had never since been effaced from his soul.'
I do so enjoy this time of year. I hope you do too!
The Practice of the Presence of God of Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection. Translated by Donald Attwater. 1963. Page 2.