What a time we’ve all been having! And how much longer until it is over and we can start to feel we can live our lives more fully again?
By Nicky Bryant, Trustee
In my opinion though, the good news is that the arrival of spring will help us all immeasurably. Even the hints that it’s on its way can lighten the heart. The birds are already singing more loudly; they, too, obviously know that better days are coming. The snowdrops are carpeting areas where quite recently there was just soggy nothingness, and when I walk around the garden, so many of the plants, although still looking like their naked and drab winter selves, have little buds just waiting to burst forth in beautiful glory. Audrey Hepburn wrote that “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” and naturally she is right! Whilst all this pain and worry and damage has been affecting the world over the past year, Nature has been carrying on and doing its thing, and, regardless of what’s in the newspapers, spring will follow winter and everything will continue as it should — especially if we all take care of our planet in the way it needs and deserves.
For me, and for us all, spring can be a time when we can improve our mood, our sleep, our health and our sense of vitality. Obviously, when lockdown is over, everything will be easier and we will be allowed to visit more places. Until then, though, we can still immerse ourselves in the promise that spring brings. Life and colour coming back into our lives will be so much more meaningful to us this year. Warmer days, open windows, birdsong, budding tulips, beautiful light instead of depressing greyness and damp. Surely it must restore us, make us feel more alive again, more positive, more able to believe that tomorrow will be better?
I planted tomato seeds the other day. Anyone could do this. A greenhouse is good, but not necessary. A garden is great but not essential. Last year, as a complete novice, I planted far too many and they all grew and yielded more tomatoes than I could have dreamed of. My daughter, in her London flat, just had one teeny plant on her kitchen table near a window — and that was okay too and still made her excited. Planting seeds is amazing. Tiny little things that, given the right care and attention, water, light and warmth, do what fabulous Nature intends them to do and turn into delicious things we can eat, while others transform into plants and flowers which attract bees and butterflies, become food for all sorts of wild creatures or stunning beauties that we can pick and bring into our homes or marvel at in our gardens or window boxes and tubs. Amazing!
And being outside and planting my seeds was great. A bit cold, but the peace was heavenly and doing something, anything, outside felt calming and healing. Grabbing the dogs afterwards, I went for a long, local walk. And even though I walk around where I live all the time these days, each time is noticeably different as we move through the calendar.
Robin Williams said “Spring is Nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s party’”. So let’s! Let’s get outside and breathe in the fresh air, deeply. Let’s feed our birds and listen to them sing their hearts out for our pleasure, let’s notice the light and colour coming back into our lives every day, bringing us the hope we all need that better times are coming, whilst Nature allows us to experience the sense of restoration, renewal and new life all around us. We can plant our seeds, dig over our beds, look at the sun shining through the trees in our woods and hopefully feel our physical and mental health improving day by day. Hippocrates said “Nature itself is the best physician” and who am I to argue? May we all feel that this spring is the change we need and the beginning of something better in our lives.