Watching the still-winter-slim pigeons and ever-bold magpies swooping down to pick up twigs at the bottom of the garden, and then up again into the various tangles of bare branches they have decided to call home for this nesting season, it’s hard to believe we are living amidst a terrible pandemic.

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the news pages report today that more than 6,400 people across more than 145 countries have died thus far and things are due to get worse. All around the world, people are panic-buying loo roll, hand sanitiser, pasta and rice, and slowly the towns and cities, villages and hamlets as we know them are being shut down and we are being urged into our own little worlds of splendid isolation.

Yet, the sun is out, the skies above me are a pale shade of blue streaked with soft-edged clouds of white and after days, no, weeks of wind and rain, the air is so blissful and calm it almost hurts my ears. Could it be that Spring is, at last, on the rise?

A splendidly bearded man in a knitted cap is mowing the grass in the churchyard opposite–the lawnmower’s motor makes a gentle purr and the sharp, acid tang of cut grass wafts through my open window. A lady, warmly wrapped against the spring chill and holding an umbrella almost half her size, perches on the corner of the low wall and turns her face up to feel the heat of the spring sun that also warms my arms as I type.

There are no leaves on the nearby silver birches, beech or ash yet but there’s a tell-tale green fuzz developing on a Horse chestnut, downy buds on the apple tree next door and the cherry and almond blossoms are a sight for winter-tired eyes.

Very dark times are around the corner for we humans and there is no doubt, we will have to find and learn a new way to live, not just for a few weeks but perhaps forever. It has been a long time coming. Meanwhile, Nature is getting ready to burst into flower and ‘the time of the singing of birds is come’ again.

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