I've been planting seeds. Nobody puts out tender plants at this time of year here, so I've been planting things indoors and ordering up a few more seeds and some plug plants for later on. I'll have to forego surfinias this year since there's a certain amount of profiteering going on! All the same, I like to support small plant growers, so I have a few orders made for later this spring and our local garden club is already wondering how we might safely share surplus plants.
But here's a thing. Spring is my favourite time of year. No doubt about it. But every year, as I've grown older, I've been uncomfortably aware of time passing, and each springtime, I've had the sensation of dragging my feet to slow things down while other commitments got in the way.
There have always been highlights: a trip to the Isle of Gigha when primroses, violets and bluebells were all in bloom at the same time; last year a happy excursion to Castle Kennedy when our son was home on one of his rare visits, to see the rhododendrons and the azaleas and more bluebells. But always there was the sense of time passing by, life and work and so much else intervening, and the notion that I could never see enough of it - that it would all be gone by too soon.
I can watch the magnolia stellata, slowly, starrily flowering from the window of the room where I work. And it almost feels as though I can see each blossom putting forth its petals. I'm aware of the dawn chorus every morning. Today there was a chaffinch singing in one of the garden trees, and it struck me that I had never before been so aware of how sweetly this little bird can sing. Slowly, slowly, everything's starting and I'm here watching it and it feels like the first time.
This is not to underestimate the difficulties, the worries and the sorrows of the present time. We're constantly worried about much loved relatives and friends. We're freelance, here in the 200 Year Old House, and know how precarious our situation is. But we're lucky in so many ways. We live in a small supportive rural community. We live in Scotland. We have a garden. We have somewhere to walk each day. So - we're trying to count our blessing. And one of those blessings seems to be - for me at least - the rediscovery of a slow steady springtime. Like my pleasure in my own creativity, this is something I thought I had lost.
When the world slows and stops, it's amazing what you discover in the space left behind.