A Spring in my Step – 12 March 2014
My neighbourhood is awash with blossom. In the woods a few trees are sporting the tiniest green leaves. Soon the other trees will shrug off their winter grey and too don their new spring wardrobe. Such is the wonder of the season, which never fails to evoke in me a seasonal sense of wonder at the annual renewal and rebirth. No matter that awful events have been unfolding all over the world or that parts of the UK have been under water, nature just keeps on going. I particularly like spring, not only for the display of breath takeingly beautiful blossoms, but also for the sense of promise that winter will end and summer is on its way. In fact the winter has been so mild this year that it doesn’t feel that we quite deserve spring just yet. Still, I am not complaining. This is surely a time to redouble one’s efforts to get the walking shoes on and go outdoors for that 30 minute, 5 times a week bit of exercise. If you have been finding it difficult to do so of late, let nature be your incentive this week. You will be richly rewarded.
Returning from my walk on Sunday, I stopped in at my local Iranian shop for a bunch of mint. A large table was piled high with boxes containing dainty, multicoloured biscuits, arranged into 3D flowers or fish. Iced in greens, yellows and pinks these sweetmeats resembled the very blossoms I had so admired minutes before. The store owner told me that these delicacies were for the Iranian new year later this month. I recalled that fish and eggs are also given as gifts at this time of year. It was then I noticed a large tank filled with tiny goldfish darting about. The sun shone into their tank, illuminating their orange outfits as they frolicked through the water. Alongside were shelves of intricately decorated eggs. How wonderful is the human spirit, the ingenuity with which cultures celebrate the renewal of the season, and the feasting that accompanies such ritual.
I walked home with the smell of fresh mint in the air, marvelling at the beauty of biscuits and blossoms. I recalled the words of the writer Dennis Potter who, experiencing the spring for the last time before he died, described ‘the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it’. He spoke about the need to live in the present (as he knew he was soon to die) and to really experience the moment. Nowadays we call this Mindfulness.
I returned home invigorated by how much I had enjoyed my neighbourhood on this magnificent spring day and moved by the beauty of the blossoms which will bloom long after each of us has ceased doing so. Do dust off your walking shoes, for not only might exercise prolong your life, but it will make your day feel so much more vital.