When my loved sister Dene sent me the poem by William Wordsworth- “The Tables Turned” – and commented in her accompanying note, “….I knew that you, being a nature lover would get a lot from it,” I knew that I had to recount my own reaction to that beautiful poem. It speaks essentially of how busy we all are for far too much of the time, our noses stuck in books (….or more frequently smartphones, iPads or mobile phones, which of course were an as yet unimagined invention in Wordsworth’s day). It refers to our often complete oblivion to the ‘Nature-al’ world around us; we are so busy hurrying here and there, cramming our lives with a lot of inconsequential matter; keeping our eyes on the time, racing from one activity to another, trying to pack in as much as we can; faster, faster, faster. Everything is ‘instant’…..which, for many, is still too slow.
As I write, it is to the accompaniment of the rich, flutey, yet quietening call of a returning blackbird to our garden for the summer. It is after nine o’clock in the evening, but being early spring, it is still quite light and not yet time for bed for him. As early as 3.30am – and sometimes even earlier – I might awaken to the sweet chortling of a robin joyously proclaiming first light…. And during the weekends, when I am at home more often, the soft whisper of the bluetit and lazy, warm, cricket-like trill of a greenfinch in the hedges, evoke comforting hopes of warm and sunny days ahead.
On my ride into work on the bus each weekday, as I look around a good many folk are either beating out a text message, rolling their small screens up and down looking at past photographs taken, or playing a “solitary game” on their phones. I look out of the window. There are no wires suspended from my ears pouring music into them. I have time and space and if I’m lucky, the relative quietness to sit back and fill my soul with the wonders of Nature in all her Spring glory:
– the large, white-blossomed trees quite awesome (in the true sense of the word), like the billowing white frock of a lucky bride, extravagantly chiffoned, outdoing everything else in the garden with its wondrous beauty
– the long-awaited blue of a Scottish sky on an early spring day; the soft, sweet fragrance of the air outside.
When I alight from the bus at last at Murrayfield, and walk along the footpath to the stadium where I work, ‘clouds of deep pink’ line the far side of green Roseburn Park. The trees over on that side have given way to the stark ‘black lace’ effect of winter; the cherry trees are richly endowed in frothy pink, their very petals serrated and softly clustered, like creamy puffs – always the same, year after year.
All about me – daily – there is newness in growth everywhere, and I give thanks for the gift of sight and sound, for the freedom to go at my own pace before I reach the office and get shunted into the ‘day’s doings’. I stop to look over the edge of the bridge railings that span this particular reach of the Water of Leith, past Murrayfield, and I am fascinated to see the goosanders and mallards swimming about…..or fishing….or sleeping on one leg in the sunshine, head tucked under wing.
The daffodils may be over, but their yellow cheerfulness is replaced by the lush, sweet fragrance of newly mown grass in the park, and the young rowan trees flaunting their first tiny and tender green buds of spring.
There is a deep rejoicing in my heart, born of taking my eyes out of the world’s flurried media and publications, disconnecting myself from electronics, and drinking in, in large gulps, this brand new season……looking forward to late rosy sunsets, sun-drenched days, and ripe, luscious fruits of summer, before the gold of autumn will surely follow on. Almost six months of this beauty, if we’re lucky!
It’s worth keeping my eyes and ears fully open for!